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Build your own camera out of a shoe box

Suitable For

Grade 7



Time Required

 <2 Days



What’s it about?

Light comes from many sources, from sunlight during the day to the electric lights we use in our homes at night. Light from objects is bounced back or ‘reflected’ off shiny surfaces, enabling us to see the images reflected by it. These images can also be captured on film with a camera, so that we can save our precious moments in time forever. All cameras work by focusing light onto a light sensitive material called ‘film’. In this science experiment, let’s build our own ‘camera obscura’ out of a shoe box to see how this works:

Topics covered

Reflectivity, Camera obscura

What will I need?


Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

All cameras, as well as the shoe box camera made in this science experiment, work by focusing just the right amount of light onto a screen to form an image. Light sensitive strips of material called ‘film’ are used on such a ‘screen’ to capture the image permanently by ‘burning’ the captured light waves on this material.

In your camera, light travels in a straight line and cross as they pass through the pinhole and onto the waxed paper ‘screen’. Light from the top of the object travels in a straight line through the pinhole and onto the bottom of the waxed paper and similarly, the light from the bottom of the object are projected to the top of the waxed paper screen. This is the reason that the image you see on the paper is upside down.

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This particular science project can be found in any of the following Experiland e-books:

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