An augmented reality sandbox is giving middle school students a unique perspective of topography and the land formations of the earth.

Soft SkillsAt Bay Middle School, the eighth grade science classroom has a sandbox on wheels which looks ordinary until the projector, computer, and sensors are activated.

Through the technology of augmented reality, students are able to transform the sand into altitudes on a map.  They can build up the sand, or smooth  it down, and even make rain appear by holding their hand over one are under the sensors. The sandbox shows the topography on a map.  By creating mountains and making indentations for lakes and rivers which appear blue after rain, students can learn about topography in a visual and interactive way.

Prior to the sandbox, the only way for students to learn about topography was by using paper with lines that indicated altitudes, said science teacher Camille Sheehan.

“Now we add a whole new dimension to teaching by using experiential learning,” said science teacher Anne Budzig.

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