Today’s Teach it Tuesday is not a one off, take away lesson like most of our Tuesday posts are.  Today’s post is more of an ongoing, experimental, let’s-see-if-this-is-gonna-work kind of thing.

My grade 8s have been studying light and optics for about a month now.  We’ve taken notes, we’ve done experiments, we’ve watched videos…but while I was planning this unit back in March I kept thinking, “How can I make this more awesome?”

My husband and I are “into” photography in the sense that we know how to use our Cannon T3i and have attended workshops and courses to learn more about our camera and our ability to make images with it.  This past January I took a course with Mike, of Clock Tower Images.  Mike is a local photographer who has worked at two Olympic Games and has traveled the world taking wild life photos.  Mike agreed to come in and speak to my students about his job as a photographer.  My class thoroughly enjoyed Mike’s presentation, stating that he “did a good job keeping a room of teenagers engaged because that cannot be an easy thing to do!”  Mission accomplished, Mike!

Mike's very cool camera he brought in to show my students.
Mike’s very cool camera he brought in to show my students.

I thought it would be neat to link my passion for teaching and photography by engaging my students in a Project Based Learning style experience – we are going to build pinhole cameras! So far all we’ve done is collect enough shoe boxes and appropriately allocate said shoe boxes.  Oh, I’ve also ordered the extremely expensive photo paper we’ll need to make our images (we’re using paper rather than film for the sole purpose of simplicity).  Our next step is to paint the insides of the boxes black and seal all tiny holes to make sure absolutely no light gets in.

I’m excited to see how this little project unfolds as we delve deeper into it.  I’ve spent a lot of time talking to my class about pinhole cameras and how they work and I’ve even shown some examples of what pinhole camera pictures look like.  Despite all this prep, I’m a little distressed about the fact that one of my students (seriously) asked, “But…where do we put the SD card?” Buckle up kids, we’re going retro!

I’ll keep you posted on how our photography and light and optics experiment pans out.

What are some PBL style projects you’ve taught or participated in? What did you like/dislike about them?

Karley