Today’s tool for learning: a camera! Yes, we use our camera to capture our achievements and feats of learning, and even recording the steps of an experiment, but have you thought about using the camera itself for learning?
Some projects we have used our cameras for (and a few we plan to do some day):
- Studying light and dark, shadow, texture, and composition. All of these can be done inside using everyday objects or outside on a walk or series of walks.
- Learn about the different ways an artist creates the illusion of perspective and demonstrate through photography
- Experiment with different lighting effects to change the mood of a photograph
- Nature study-capturing images of different plant and animal species for later research/study (can be more convenient than a sketchbook, especially for littles)
- Take a photograph to record the location where a specimen was found that you are taking with you
- Study vision and how the eye works by creating optical illusions
- Study permanence and how it causes the illusion of movement in film by creating a stop motion film
Language Arts and Critical Thinking
- Create a photo journal
- Write a story using only photographs (think comic book style)
- Take mystery pics and exchange photos---who can identify the most objects, who came up with the real stumper
While a film camera can be used for most of these, I think you’ll find using a digital camera much more rewarding, particularly for things like stop motion animation , nature study and art study. Your little learners will get immediate feedback, can see what is working and what isn’t, can take as many shots as they need, and they won’t break the bank with film processing. If you’re nervous about letting them use your camera, consider investing in a real, used camera for their use. The cheap, clunky kids’ camera tend to disappoint with inferior pictures. A decent point-and-shoot, used digital can be had for around $50 (I’d spend more than that in film and processing in a month with my kiddos).
Here’s a bonus: I’ve got some awesome 100% free resources for you to add to your toolbox:
Cindy Downes has a free to homeschoolers unit study on Digital Photography (this is for grades 7-12, but could be easily modified for younger children).