An exploration of how we see
pinhole camera
Eloise Faehndrich

From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed again at night, we use our eyes to take in information about the world around us. Indeed, 70% of the receptors in our body are in the eye. Looking and seeing is something we do so often, we don't even think about it. This presentation has the goal of probing students to start asking questions about the everyday phenomenon of light and sight.

What if we could shrink students and bring them on a field trip inside an eye? While unfortunately I cannot actually do this, the next best thing is transforming your classroom into a camera obscura. This is latin for 'dark chamber' which is, at its very basic, what the eye is. So come, let us explore the marvel of sight together!

"She who asks a question is a fool for five minutes, she who does not ask a question is a fool forever"


Lets be fools for a moment, let our jaws drop at the mundane beauty of light. Let it disturb us that we can see, and let us then ask how it can all be

Eloise Faehndrich UBC 2021


Here are the slides I used for my presentation, as well as the worksheet.

Some tips I was a one time presenter in the class (as in the students did not know me ahead of time), and so I included a slide about me, which I felt would make the students feel more connected to me, if you are doing this presentation for your own class, obviously you don't need to include such a slide. I was also presenting remotely (in the covid era), while the students were in person in the classroom, and so I had to get creative about how to engage the class. I used, an online polling site that allows you to create polls, and got the teacher to get the students to bring their phones/tablets/laptops to class to participate. If your class is all on zoom, there is a polling feature on zoom that you can use, as well as get students to annotate your slides at the appropriate moments. If it is in person, obviously you can just talk to the students and have a discussion in person [seems like a luxury now from a bygone era :) ].

Finally, encourage questions! Throughout my presentation I sought to show students how asking questions can lead to figuring out a whole lot more about how stuff works, and how exciting that can be!