In this activity, students make a pinhole camera and see images formed on an internal screen. They then use a lens and see brighter and sharper images. This models the human eye.

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • describe how a pinhole camera produces a small upside-down image
  • explain why a larger hole produces a brighter but less focused image
  • observe how a lens placed in front of the pinhole camera produces a bright and sharply focused image
  • compare a pinhole camera with a human eye, describing similarities and differences.

Download the Word file (see link below) for:

  • introduction/background notes
  • what you need
  • what to do
  • discussion questions
  • student instructions.

Nature of science

Physical models can be useful to help build understanding of science ideas. The pinhole camera has similarities to the human eye that are useful to help explain how images are formed and how the cornea and lens of the eye contribute to the formation of bright and sharply focused images.

    Published 5 April 2012