Visit StickyLock

Trending Now

Winkler AR sandboxes pave the way for an engaging way of learning

Harold E. Winkler Middle School in Concord, North Carolina, has one of the only nine AR sandboxes in the state. Following a year of fundraising, receiving donations and development, the sandbox is helping students get a feeling similar to science museum visits, as they enter classrooms.

Instructional technology facilitator Michael Peterson stated that faculty members were brainstorming innovative teaching methods, when they came across an AR sandbox, created by UC Davis’ W.M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in the Earth Sciences, in association with the  Lawrence Hall of Science and EXHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, and the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center.

Combining a hands-on AR sandbox with 3D technology applications, teaching earth science became easier. The sandbox enables users to craft real sand for generating topography models, which gets projected in real time by means of topographic contour lines, an elevation color map, and water simulations. The system is utilised for teaching geologic, geographic and hydrologic ideas like contour line symbols, topographic maps, catchments, levees, watersheds, and more.

The sandbox enables users to craft real sand for generating topography models, which gets projected in real time by means of topographic contour lines, an elevation color map, and water simulations.

According to Peterson, the tables cost around $9,000. However, PTSO funds, donations from staff members, tech head Nate Spicer, and Cabarrus County Schools carpenters Tad Allred and Joe Cottone, the school could develop its own $3,000 version.

Peterson explained that the project was made successful due to the collaboration of teachers, the carpentry staff and the tech lead. He acknowledged the roles played by everyone and the communication between them, which was vital to the goal of better learning for students. The AR sandbox was used for the first time by the students during October end. Debra Gallagher, a seventh-grade teaching staff, and media ace Katherine Clymer created a lesson regarding hurricanes and why Katrina was so devastating for New Orleans.

The roles played by everyone and the communication between them, which was vital to the goal of better learning for students. – Michael Peterson

Gallagher mentioned that the lesson was focused on how hurricanes have adverse impacts on the economy, people and the land.

She expressed to students how rare the sandbox was, as there weren’t many of them around. The students’ reactions were positive with the inclusion of this teaching tool, as all the hard-to-analyse technical knowledge in Hurricane Katrina documentaries were now quite discernable.

Students witnessed Clymer modify the sandbox for exhibiting levee failures led to a big chunk of New Orleans’ flooding during Katrina. Then they were given the chance to warp the map by themselves, simply by touching the AR sand and witnessing the rise of water levels.

Coding is required to augment the sandbox and illustrate various landforms, which led Peterson to the conclusion that has uses beyond science.

Peterson expressed that what they thought to be a science teaching tool, can also be implemented for social studies learning and even help students understand the settlement patterns of populations and preferences for fertile land areas etc.

Seventh-grade student Joey Kuhns found the concept innovative. He explained that being able to feel and touch is surely a better way of learning for students.

Join the Discussion


Visit StickyLock
Back to top