December 2, 2019: Ready for a digital science project that shows the land like no other. Create experiments that will blow student’s minds!

A promise is a promise! If you were patient enough to watch the full Glashan School feature (Jump to 29:45), you saw that one of the science digital tools that made students love to involve in deep learning is the Augmented Reality Sandbox. The AR Sandbox combines 3D visualization applications with a hands-on sandbox exhibit to teach earth science concepts. The sandbox allows users to create digital 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 geographic, geologic, and hydrologic concepts such as how to read a topography map, the meaning of contour lines, watersheds, catchment areas, levees, and so much more!

This digital technology project of augmented reality is the perfect tool to engage in deep learning and inquire about geographical matters and how changes occur in the land. AR Sandbox is the result of an NSF-funded project on informal science education for freshwater lake and watershed science developed by the UC Davis’ W.M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in the Earth Sciences (KeckCAVES), together with the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, Lawrence Hall of Science, and ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center. All of the technical information you need, including computer details, video card information, and downloadable programs are available here: AR Sandbox- Build Your Own. For step by step instructions watch the following video.

The video is presented by Craig Beals where he demonstrates how to build the AR Sandbox in his YouTube channel Beals Science. The white sand will act as a projector screen and the topographic map image is projected on the surface. An XBOX Kinect is positioned to read the contours of the sand and draw new topographic lines according to how the sand is moved. This augmented reality sandbox will blow your mind! In his blog page, Beals Science, you can find more detailed instructions. To view the post, click here. was created as a place to share science experiments and digital lessons to help inspire the next generation of dreamers, thinkers, and doers! Craig Beals is a passionate teacher and curious explorer of all things named Montana Teacher of the Year in 2016. He was awarded the Teaching Excellence by the National Education Association Award as well. With degrees in Biology, Broadfield Science and a Masters in Zoology, science has always been his passion. In the following video, he shows us how to make an easy, DIY, and environmentally conscious experiment, “How to Make Edible Water Bottles!”

As a science teacher, Craig Beals has come to understand the importance of technology to foster relationships with his students, he believes this to be the most important part of education. In his TEDx Talk: Can technology (re) humanize us? He explains how compassion and kindness go a long way and using technology to show caring not just learning, changed his whole perception of how to teach. This type of thinking aligns with Indigenous knowledge views, relationships should be based on reciprocal care and respect between all beings. Those relationships include non-human beings that sustain our life. In the following TEDx Talk, ’Qátuw̓as Jessica Brown explains the importance of practical relationships with place, in her case, with the Oceans. ’Qátuw̓as was raised in the Heiltsuk community of Bella Bella located on the central coast of B.C., in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest. She is proud of her Heiltsuk and Nuu-chah-nulth roots, which continue to ground her in her work as Indigenous Community Liaison with Ocean Networks Canada. Watch below how she explores the idea of putting nature in the center of science and embracing the culture of our place.

’Qátuw̓as is working to bridge Western science and Indigenous knowledge through her active engagement with coastal Indigenous communities on topics of ocean observing systems, climate change, and the changing ocean. She also works with other members of the Learning and Engagement Team to bring Indigenous perspectives into both ocean science procedures and ocean science learning materials. With the AR Sandbox, we can easily explore the relationship with our place and teach Indigenous knowledge through technological advancements. AR Sandbox Educator Resources is the digital resources webpage that will help teachers maximize the sandbox’s use within their lessons. One of the lessons you can find is Shaping Watersheds, which explains how to use the sandbox to learn the import relationship we all have with the flow of water.