JHS Implements Augmented Reality into Curriculum

Augmented Reality Turns Sandbox into Geoscience Lesson at Junior High School
Posted on 02/21/2020
Augmented Reality Turns Sandbox into Geoscience Lesson  at Junior High School  A 200-pound sandbox has been incorporated into the Longwood Junior High School science curriculum, but this is not an ordinary sandbox.

The AR Sandbox combines a real sandbox with a 3-D camera, a digital projector, and a powerful computer that allows students to manipulate and shape the sand and project a topographical overlay based on what they create.  

“The AR sandbox provides students with the opportunity to experience topography and land formations as they’ve never experienced before by touching and creating the landforms themselves,” said science department chairperson Steven Sanders. “This technology allows students to bring to life what they’re learning in the classroom and enhance their understanding of topography. It also allows students to create their landscapes and see how they would appear on a topographic map in real-time.”

As one of the only districts on Long Island to integrate this type of university-level technology, students are using 3-D visualization to create topography models by shaping real sand, which is then augmented in real-time by an elevation color map, topographic contour lines, and simulated water. The system teaches students about topography, geologic concepts, watersheds, elevation changes, and more.

In Mr. Sanders’ class, the 3-D image is simultaneously projected onto the Smartboard screen as well as the sand. The screen component provides students a chance to compare their 3-D model to a 2-D topographic map and allows a whole classroom to see what is happening in the sandbox. 

 “Using the AR sandbox is a fun way to learn how steep and gentle slopes show up on a topographic map; it shows how to contour line spacing is related to the landscape,” said eighth-grader Rehanna.

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