Students Move Mountains with Augmented Reality Sandbox


Grade 3 students at Western Academy of Beijing have been exploring changes to Earth's surface using an augmented reality (AR) sandbox.

The sandbox projects topographical lines and colors onto ordinary sand. As students move the sand, the lines change to illustrate transformations in landforms. By holding their hands above the sand, students can simulate rain and observe the flow of water over mountains, valleys and plateaus.

Developed by the University of California, Davis, the sandbox was designed to be used in museums. When Grade 3 teacher Blair Zachary proposed the idea to build one for WAB's Elementary School, many people came together to collaborate on the project. David Packman from the IT Department set up the software, and Jing Mei Li and Gary Wen built the sandbox using old furniture in the Makerspace.

It's been an interactive and engaging way for the Grade 3 students to learn about geology. To find out more about innovative learning opportunities, visit the WAB website's Elementary School Learning page.