Making A Pinhole Camera

by Allan C. Gladsden
Grades 4 to 8
Subject - Science


Introduce lesson by discussing light and how we perceive it. Demonstrate how objects appear when viewed through different lenses. Draw diagrams on the board and have children explain in their own words what is happening. When you are finished your discussion and the activity, children should understand that light travels in straight lines.

Material/Supplies Needed

  1. Cylindrical box (oatmeal, salt, etc.)
  2. Rubber Band
  3. Sticky Tape
  4. Wax Paper
  5. Straight Pin
  6. Scissors
  7. Black Paper


To view the object clearly, have the students view the screen from a distance of about 30 cm. If the object is too dim or doesn't appear bright enough to see details, have the students construct a shade tube from black construction paper; by wrapping the paper around the tube, it will shield the light and creat a small darkroom around the wax paper screen.

Follow-Up Activities

How does moving the camera effect the position of the image. Move the camera to the right, to the left, up, and down. Have the students list the effects in the form of a chart.<br>

What factors effect the brightness of the image? What factors effect the sharpness of the image? What factors effect the size of the image? Again, have the students list the findings on their chart. Some suggestions might be to line the inside of the box with black paper, increase the size of the pinhole, use different papers for the screen, or change the length of the box.