A Digital Camera in Science Class

Wondering how to put that new digital camera to use in the classroom? This article will provide ideas for science lesson plans and some basic information to consider.

With digital cameras becoming more and more user friendly, teachers are constantly searching for creative ways to use this handy device to enhance their lessons and motivate their students. The science classroom is the ideal place to start because it offers a natural hands-on environment and activities for primary learners. This article will present some basic information and science project ideas that will help to get you started with the exciting teaching tool of digital imaging.

Why Use a Digital Camera?

Digital cameras are easy to use, require no extra cost for film or processing, are conveniently sized, and provide immediate pictures for children to see. They can be connected to a computer and the pictures then can be published, imported into other programs, or made into a slide show for class viewing. The possibilities are endless!

Things to Think About

The primary concern with the use of a camera in the classroom is student privacy. Never publish personal information or student photos on the Internet or a classroom web page. Also check with school personnel to see if there are any children in your classroom that do not have permission to be photographed.

Science Lesson Ideas

  • Butterfly Garden- Create a butterfly garden in your classroom and take life cycle pictures as caterpillars transform into beautiful butterflies. Make copies of each photograph and post them on the bulletin board for student comparison.
  • Cloud Animals-After a lesson on clouds, take the children outside on a windy day to observe the different shapes in the clouds. Take pictures of the animal shapes they find. Make color copies of the animals and bind them into a classroom book.
  • Weather Watch-Take a picture of the weather each time it changes at school. Post these on a Weather Watch bulletin board. Students might write a paragraph to share about their favorite kind of weather.
  • Nature Walk-After learning about different shapes and colors, take children on a walk around the school and have them spot examples of each. Take pictures and put them on a teaching poster for the classroom.
  • Blooming Children-Take an individual photo of each student at the beginning of the year, laminate it, and use the pictures in the science classroom during the year. One example would be to put each child’s picture in the center of a different flower on a spring bulletin board.
  • Close Up- Outside of school, take close up photos of animal fur–goats, horses, dogs, cats, etc. You might even visit a zoo for sample photos. Enlarge these photos on the computer and make color copies of each. Take the photos to school and during a lesson on animal characteristics, have children guess what animals have been photographed. Protective coloration might also be discussed.
  • Picture an Experiment-Take pictures of children doing a simple science experiment. Afterwards, show the photos as a slide show on the computer and discuss the different steps that the scientist uses to find out about things.

Other Resources Online

Lesson ideas for using the digital camera in other subject areas, as well as science, can be found at 1001 Uses for a Digital Camera, and Teacher to Teacher. You can also submit your own teaching ideas.