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9 Apr 2020

Morton Schools Project – Technologies (ages 8–11)

Written by Ben Reiss, Morton Photography Project Curator
A camera comprised of two wooden frames joined by black leather bellows. It has a lens on the front made from brass and glass.
Around 1900, photographs were taken on plate cameras. Glass plates coated with light-sensitive chemicals were exposed to the light to take photos. National Trust for Scotland: Broughton House & Garden
These activities have been developed in line with the experiences and outcomes of the Curriculum for Excellence, and are intended to enrich and support resources and lessons provided by schools.

These activities are inspired by photographs and cameras from our historical collections. We’ve included a selection of relevant images here, but you can view the full gallery. You’re welcome to use any of the images from the gallery as inspiration for these activities.

We suggest that these activities would be most suitable for children aged 8–11, but please feel free to explore all the articles in this series. You can find them by searching for Morton Schools Project.

The times suggested beside each activity are intended to be a guideline; you’re welcome to spend as much time on each activity as you like.

A small, black, box-shaped camera with a leather handle on the top, a metal dial on one side and a lens at the front.
The Kodak photography company introduced the lightweight Brownie camera, which took photos on rolls of film rather than plates or sheets, in 1900. National Trust for Scotland: Pollok House

(5–15 minutes)

Look at the cameras on the History of Photography at National Trust for Scotland gallery. In what way do the oldest cameras in the gallery look different to the cameras we have today? Pick two cameras that were made at least 30 years apart. Write a short description of their similarities and differences.

A rectangular, black and white plastic camera. The lens and print controls are visible. It lies next to a brown leather case.
A camera like the Kodak EK6 (from 1976–78) used self-developing film to create photographic prints almost immediately after a photo had been taken. National Trust for Scotland: Angus Folk Museum

(15–30 minutes)

Choose another camera from the gallery to compare with a modern digital camera or camera phone. Research the two cameras you have chosen – what they are like to use and the different ways they create photographs. Think about the following:

  • Do you know anyone who might have used the historical camera or one like it?
  • Why do you think the cameras are different? Is it because of changing technology, changing uses or changing lifestyles?
  • Do you think the way you see or interact with the world is affected by how easy it is to take photos now?

Now you know lots about your chosen cameras, have a go at creating an advert for one of them.

Present what you have learnt about these cameras. You can either create a written summary of your research, or create a poster outlining the changes you have observed.

black SLR-type camera from above. Various dials are visible and its lens-cap is on. It has a case and strap attached.
This Minolta X-570 (c1983) contains sophisticated electronics which help its user select the correct settings to take better photographs. National Trust for Scotland: Canna House

(30–60 minutes)

Design your own camera! What does it look like? Who is it for? Is it supposed to be used for any particular purpose? Does it have any special features? What sorts of photos does it take? You can write out a technical specification, draw it or even try to build it.

We’d love to see what you come up with! Feel free to send your designs to us at @NTSCollections on Twitter or @nationaltrustforscotland on Instagram.

A small, black plastic, digital camera with a hand strap attached. The closed lens and the word 'Canon' are visible.
Today, most people use digital cameras – either stand-alone ones like this Canon or as integrated into their smartphones. National Trust for Scotland: Handling Collection

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