STEM with Camera Obscura (LS-TR-336)

Camera Obscura

It’s a STEAM scenario which is inspired by the Camera Obscura ,which was the first vision recording device. It’s for 15-18-year-old students.

How was the Camera Obscura connected with the curriculum?

The Camera Obscura can be linked to the Physics curriculum in terms of its components. On the other hand, it is related to Chemistry and IT subjects in terms of light and the photosensitive surface. Due to the similarities of functions between the camera and eyes, it is involved in Biology.

The LS, which is about industrial heritage, emphasizes its chronological development as well.

In this LS some of the 21st-century skills are used. They include observations and experiments which will be carried out for the first time in Physics and Chemistry with Problem-Based learning. Collaborative working and critical thinking also take place in the activities.

The aim of the learning scenario

The aim of the LS is to help the students learn and understand the units, linking the device to the curriculum through observations and experiments. The LS does not mean the Camera Obscura to be created again by students.

The LS consists of four levels, one of which is Teacher’s preparations before the lesson and the others are held during the class. The teacher prepares the model before the lesson. It’s possible to make this camera with some carboard in any size, which makes it flexible and easy to develop. Furthermore, one can easily find videos on the net regarding creating the Camera Obscura.

Pre-Lesson activities

Making all the materials available, I prepared the Camera Obscura with four components.

During the lesson

1st section (Physics activities)

Obtaining vision through the pinhole in the camera.

Obtaining vision through the convex lens.

Obtaining vision through the plane mirror.

Factors on which lens distance is based.

Distance adjustment on the convex lens.

2nd Section (Chemistry Activities)

Acids and bases

States of matter (solid, liquid, gas) observations

We made experiments on the photosensitive surface and capturing vision on diazotype paper. Obtaining vision on the offset printing plate was experimented. The students calculated the duration which was required by vision to appear in groups.

3rd section (Biology and IT activities)

The relation between sense organs and the camera was explained.

The experiment of turning the classroom into the Camera Obscura, during which students worked collaboratively was made. 

While doing  the experiment most of the students were motivated and interested.

Would you like to know more about this learning scenario? You can download it below:

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CC BY 2.5: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana Collections and provided by the Tekniska museet.

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