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Jessika Richter
Jessika Richter
(Lund - Sweden)

The short and sweet: I have been a passionate teacher since 2001.  I first worked with the National Park Service in Washington (state), then moved to Australia where I completed my DipEd at the University of Melbourne and then taught at Hailebury  ...

Pinhole Camera

Pinhole Camera Lesson Plan

Introduction:  The Pinhole Camera is a project-based activity.  Students will develop a basic understanding of basic optics and the workings of a simple camera. 


Timing:  This activity should take about 180 minutes to complete. 


Group Size: Partners (2)


Learning Objectives: 

There are five objectives for this project.  They include:

Build the camera - This involves following the instructions stated below.

Taking pictures - This will require a sunny day or at least semi-bright light.

Developing pictures - This will usually happen immediately after you take the picture so you can see the results and change your methods accordingly.

Photo collage – Your top four photos will be presented.  Make sure to include a description of how each picture was taken and what can be seen.

Reporting - Your group must produce a one page, typed report that details the process of camera construction, picture taking, and picture development.  This report should be written in the passive, third person tense.  Attach the report to the back of the collage.


Guiding Question:  What is a pinhole cameral and how does it work?


Materials:  This project requires a shoebox, black duct tape, clear tape, black construction paper, aluminum foil, push pin, fast photographic paper, paper developer, and fixer. Have students bring their own shoeboxes, everything else can be found at a photo shop or a hardware store. The only difficulty will be finding a dark room.  

Photocopy enough activity sheets for a pair of students to have one sheet.



The process of constructing the camera, loading the film, and taking the picture is pretty straight forward.  The students should have no trouble following the procedure.  The only mistakes tend to be:

-pinhole is too big

-box is not light tight

-exposed the film for too long

-moving the camera will it is taking the picture

-loading and unloading film in semi-dark room

Developing the film is a challenge.  You must have a dark room.  A closet can work, but you must seal the door.  Developing is a trial and error process.  Test a few of your own pictures out first and work out the kinks before students give it a try.

The report and collage will take some time to put together.  Assigning some of it for homework might be required.

The Pinhole Camera project is a partner based activity.  Students will need to work well together, follow instructions, and use their time wisely.  Partners will be grading each other at the end of the project, so if one student does not pull their weight, their grade will be reduced.


Assessment: The project will be assessed for camera construction, collage of picture, and project report.  The provided rubric explains the details.


Answer Key:

Rubric is provided

Pinhole Camera Activity Sheet

The file is saved as a Word 1997-2004 .doc document. This document explains the pinhole camera project including materials required and instructions for building the camera.

Open or Download This File:


Pinhole Camera Self-Grading Rubric

The file is saved as a Word 1997-2004 .doc document. This is the self-grading rubric for the pinhole camera project (http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Coll_mackzoore/PinholeCameraLessonPlan).

Open or Download This File:


Pinhole Camera Partner Grader

The file is saved as a Word 1997-2004 .doc document. It is a worksheet/rubric for use in a project using a pinhole camera (http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Coll_mackzoore/PinholeCameraLessonPlan).

Open or Download This File: