If you’re interested in the AR Sandbox, read our latest article published by Earth and Space Science News (EOS.org), “Augmented Reality Turns a Sandbox into a Geoscience Lesson.” Authored by the Lake Viz team*, the article covers the inception, development, and most importantly, the impact of the AR Sandbox has had on educators and learners. As one of the most exciting geoscience educational tools to come out in recent memory, it’s exciting to hear how it’s being used in different contexts, audiences, and locations. Hopefully, our project will spur further development in AR in education and we hope everyone has a chance to experience the AR Sandbox.
*Authors: Sarah Reed, Sherry Hsi, Oliver Kreylos, M. Burak Yikilmaz, Louise H. Kellogg, S. Geoffrey Schladow, Heather Segale, and Lindsay Chan
Over two days of formative evaluation, more than 300 guests at ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center previewed a new 3D guided tour of the Lake Champlain Basin. Nina Ridhibhinyo, ECHO’s group programs manager, guided these eager participants through space and time as part of a 25-minute 3D presentation on the history of dam development and flooding on the Winooski River. They explored Vermont’s wetlands and flood zones, delved into the historic floods of 1927 and 2011, and visited mills, hydroelectric, and flood control dams throughout Vermont.
Earlier this month we had a lot of fun testing a few of our hands-on tabletop activities. On the museum floor at the Lawrence Hall of Science, 70 people, ranging from elementary school-age children to adults, got a sneak preview of these new prototype activities and gave us their feedback to make them better. One of the tabletops we tested was the Seiche Wave Model. The model is a long, narrow tank that can be divided into sections for different colored water of different temperatures. Once the divider is removed, the different temperatures of water form layers, called thermoclines, based on density due to their temperature. By blowing air through straws, visitors saw how wind can make waves on a lake surface and also create internal waves, called seiche waves. Another favorite action children really enjoyed was pouring water through a tube to simulate how streams can produce seiche waves in a lake too.
Kids also liked playing the Algae and Plankton computer games. In this game, visitors learned how to identify different types of plankton and found out what kinds of phytoplankton zooplankton like to eat. Thanks to all the participants and their feedback, we know these activities are on the right track in nurturing curiosity and raising awareness about lakes and we’ve also gained some ideas on how to improve them.
It was a busy three days in May 17 to 19, 2012! The first project advisory board took place during some incredibly clear and mild Spring weather, bringing PIs, staff, and advisors to Davis, California and then Incline Village, Nevada. Advisory board members included Valence Davillier, VP and Director of Exhibits from Cleveland’s Great Lakes Science Center; Joe Atkinson, Director of Great Lakes Program at the University of Buffalo; Tom Moher, a computer/learning scientist from the University of Chicago’s Electronic Visualization Laboratory; Kate Haley-Goldman, evaluation expert at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado; John Baek, an education researcher from NOAA, and Donna Cox (who joined remotely via a networked iPad), Professor, University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Director of the Illinois eDREAM Institute, and Director of Advanced Scientific Visualization Laboratory..
On April 5th, the Lake Viz tabletop activity group solicited feedback and friendly criticisms from the rest of the Lake Viz team and other education/museum professionals. As we progress in our grant, updates and feedback allow us to focus on the confluence of content and potential museum activities. We invited representatives from the Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Davis KeckCAVES, UC Davis TERC, Exploratorium, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, and the California Academy of Sciences. The team presented our current work in progress on four clusters: water, landforms and scientist tools, ecology care, and stewardship. With these clusters, we presented prototype activities for seiche waves/thermoclines, LIDAR, topography, ecology, and lake pollutants using a variety of media/interactive types such as tablet interactives, working models, augmented reality, games, an interactive sand box, and of course, 3D visualizations.