Part of Lesson Plan: The Giant Camera Obscura
Activity Overview / Details
Students may need to be moved and positioned so all can see the projection area. Turn off all lights and give time for student’s eyes to adjust to the dark. An image of whatever is outside the window will appear on the projection area upside down. A student (or student teacher, aide, etc.) can be asked to walk ( dance or do jumping jacks) back and forth outside the window. Students will see the outside image and actions upside down on the wall, screen, or even the ceiling. Then have another student do the same so that all can see. This will be very entertaining for everyone, I promise. Well, maybe not EVERYONE, but you get the picture. (Get it? "you get the picture.")
Stop at this point to explain how this same experience was used for hundreds of years as entertainment for the public fairs, carnivals or wherever a camera obscura room was built. I have included a picture and article on the famous Giant Camera right in San Francisco...Life Magazine did an article in 1954 on it.
Most often it was a building with a large mirror on top that could be turned and controlled to see people or landscapes outside projected on to a round white surface on the floor or large table area. Thus, reflection of light was also used. This was not only the first camera to be used, but also the first television. Ask students, "How could this projection be used in a practical, artistic way?"