Week 4: Reflection

It was great to read positive comments on my proposed project of pinhole photography.  As a high school math teacher, it would be great to come up with projects that incorporate core content such as algebra, geometry, advanced algebra, trigonometry, calculus, and statistics with making.  There have always been generic projects where students can build or make something that help students understanding of singular math concepts, but can’t think of projects that would satisfy the 8 elements of a good project described by Martinez.

One of the issues, in my opinion, is the vast amount of material we need to cover in a high school course.  In order to cover all the content, for example, in Algebra 1, I need to devote most every day to a lesson, review, practice, or assessment.  There is insufficient time to incorporate a project of any real magnitude in a course, unless I can take time away from another component of a course.  I suppose I could dispense with textbook mentality of teaching content.  I have always thought that I could teach the same material using project-based curriculum.  To my knowledge, there isn’t a textbook or workbook that uses this type of teaching and learning.  It would be great to see one.  Maybe there is.

That is one of the reasons for describing a pinhole photography project, because not only are they “making” a pinhole camera that works, they will be learning all the aspects of photography like developing film, making prints, using the darkroom, understanding about exposure and composition, and many more aspects of a wet darkroom photography class.  Not just make a camera that works.  I know I described this in my blog, but students will really understand the basics of photography.  And yes, there is math, science, history, and art in photography too.  This project can really be a course in high school, there is that much content.  The pinhole camera project is a way of “making” in photography class, but it is the basis of a course.  I have used this project in my darkroom photography classes in the past and it has worked wonderfully.  Students are amazed at the simplicity of making an image.  You don’t need a high-tech camera (digital or film) to create an image.  I have taught two versions of this project.  Make a camera that uses photo paper to create an image, and make a camera that uses film to create an image.  It is very difficult to make a film pinhole camera work properly.  I have never had a student succeed with that part.  It requires determination, patience, and growth mindset.  Someday I will have a student succeed because they will have these characteristics, and it will be great.

I need to work on creating projects that I can incorporate in my math classes.  I will try to research this too.

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