When you’re a teacher, all the knowledge you have is not of too much use if you’re not creative. Mark Zimmerman, an associate professor at the University of Central Oklahoma, is exactly the kind of teacher I admire. In order to explain to his students how a pinhole camera works, he didn’t just bring one to the class. He went a step further and turned the entire classroom into a camera obscura.
I’m sure you are familiar with the concept of the pinhole camera (or camera obscura). It’s a light-proof box with a small hole in one side. The passes through the pinhole and projects an inverted image on the opposite side of the box, creating the camera obscura effect. And this is what Prof. Zimmerman did with his classroom.
He covered all the windows with aluminum foil and duct tape to make the classroom completely dark. He only left a small, square hole in the foil, which served as pinhole camera lens. And the result: the scenes from the outside world were projected on the classroom walls upside down.
I think a proper demonstration is important for understanding some subject. My teachers often failed at it, especially during primary and secondary education (imagine learning physics from books only, without any demonstration). So I find Prof. Zimmerman’s creativity really refreshing. He created something interesting for his students while demonstrating what he was teaching.
The solution he found is really simple, yet very effective. And if you want to follow his example and demonstrate camera obscura to your students or kids (or just for fun), you can follow this tutorial.