MAKE A "CAMERA"—AND LEARN HOW A REAL ONE WORKS!
Pinhole cameras were one of the earliest types of cameras. They use the principle of "camera obscura," in which light travels through a small hole in a dark box to form a picture. It's the same science that today's cameras use. Follow these instructions to make a pinhole "camera" and learn how real cameras work.
• a sharp pencil
• an empty shoe box with a lid
• an X-Acto knife (ask an adult)
• a ruler
• wax paper
• a blanket
Use the point of a sharp pencil to punch a hole in one of the shorter ends of the shoe box.
Ask an adult to use an X-Acto knife to cut a square in the opposite end of the box, directly across from the hole. The square should measure 2 inches (5.08 centimeters) on each side.
Use scissors to cut a square of wax paper that measures 3 inches (7.62 centimeters) on each side.
Place the wax paper directly over the square you cut in the box. Tape the edges of the wax paper to the box.
Take the camera box to a dimly lit room and turn on a lamp. Stand about 5 feet (1.5 meters) from the lamp.
Cover your head and pinhole camera with a blanket. Be sure that the end with the wax paper is facing you and the end with the pinhole is facing the lamp.
Hold your pinhole camera at arms length from your face and aim it at the lamp. Keep it steady until you see an upside-down image of the lamp.
In a real camera, the lens is like the tiny hole you made in the box and creates a backward, upside-down image. Like the little hole, the lens lets in light. The wax paper is like film in a real camera, which has special chemicals on it. When the light hits the film, the chemicals start changing and turn the image into a photograph.