Investigating Image Formation with a Camera Obscura: a Study in Initial Primary Science Teacher Education

  • Granada Muñoz-Franco
  • Ana María Criado
  • Antonio García-Carmona


This article presents the results of a qualitative study aimed at determining the effectiveness of the camera obscura as a didactic tool to understand image formation (i.e., how it is possible to see objects and how their image is formed on the retina, and what the image formed on the retina is like compared to the object observed) in a context of scientific inquiry. The study involved 104 prospective primary teachers (PPTs) who were being trained in science teaching. To assess the effectiveness of this tool, an open questionnaire was applied before (pre-test) and after (post-test) the educational intervention. The data were analyzed by combining methods of inter- and intra-rater analysis. The results showed that more than half of the PPTs advanced in their ideas towards the desirable level of knowledge in relation to the phenomena studied. The conclusion reached is that the camera obscura, used in a context of scientific inquiry, is a useful tool for PPTs to improve their knowledge about image formation and experience in the first person an authentic scientific inquiry during their teacher training.


Camera obscura Image formation Inquiry-based learning Primary education Science teacher training 



This work was supported by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (Spain) under grant EDU2017-82505-P.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Didáctica de las Ciencias Experimentales y Sociales, Facultad de Ciencias de la EducaciónUniversidad de SevillaSevillaSpain

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