3D Geology Teaching Sandbox
The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences has constructed an augmented-reality sandbox to help students better visualize the three-dimensional dynamics of geological and meteorological formations.
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[00:00:03.828]This is an augmented reality sandbox
[00:00:05.697]and it allows us to simulate land and the contours
[00:00:08.800]to show the different elevations of the land.
[00:00:11.011]We can see the contours of the land,
[00:00:12.967]which is really great for teaching students
[00:00:14.836]about contour maps and topographic maps.
[00:00:17.432]So it's good for that.
[00:00:18.265]It also shows the different colors
[00:00:19.655]for the elevations and you can also make it rain
[00:00:22.368]to show things like watersheds
[00:00:24.656]and where water drains from
[00:00:26.124]and you can use it to demonstrate things like,
[00:00:27.712]flooding of a dam.
[00:00:28.884]If a dam overflows, what would happen
[00:00:30.917]with the rainfall from that.
[00:00:32.722]So it can be used for a lot of things.
[00:00:34.676]The students can discover some of these things
[00:00:36.805]on their own.
[00:00:37.638]Because in the past,
[00:00:38.471]what we would do is just give them the map
[00:00:39.693]and ask them questions about the map.
[00:00:41.463]Here they can just play to discover a lot
[00:00:43.263]of the same things.
[00:00:44.992]So traditionally when we teach
[00:00:48.033]about topographic maps,
[00:00:49.453]we give students a two-dimensional map,
[00:00:52.271]has a bunch of contour lines on it
[00:00:54.365]and one of the challenges that students have
[00:00:57.154]with the spatial thinking is
[00:00:59.205]translating what they see in two-dimensions
[00:01:01.674]into three-dimensional terms.
[00:01:03.354]So the augmented reality sandbox actually serves
[00:01:07.415]as a kind of cognitive scaffold
[00:01:09.985]between what students see on a 2D map
[00:01:12.787]and the actual feature itself.
[00:01:15.194]As a teacher, this is really exciting
[00:01:16.815]because we haven't had this kind of capacity
[00:01:19.845]to augment reality in Earth Science classes before.
[00:01:27.496]that has an infrared camera on it,
[00:01:29.845]which senses the three-dimensional aspect
[00:01:32.634]of the sand and it feeds that into the computer
[00:01:35.474]where the software,
[00:01:37.852]uses that data to generate a projection,
[00:01:41.693]which comes out the projector here
[00:01:43.533]and does the topographical overlay on the scan.
[00:01:47.605]One of the things we find
[00:01:48.784]in our Geology 101 course
[00:01:51.525]is that students really struggle with this transition
[00:01:54.245]from looking at a map
[00:01:55.737]to thinking about what something looks like
[00:01:58.233]in the real world
[00:01:59.805]and we're hoping that this will help cement that in.
[00:02:03.645]Oh that is super cool!
[00:02:08.085]That's super cool.
[00:02:09.312]I love this.
[00:02:11.165]They get really excited.
[00:02:12.942]They just enjoy playing with it.
[00:02:14.301]They like to build big features and then,
[00:02:17.712]maybe cut them in half
[00:02:19.171]and make it rain over the top of them
[00:02:20.861]to see where the water's going to flow.
[00:02:22.883]It's hard to pull people away from this.
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