(ST. JOSEPH, Mo)
Students at Bode Middle School have a new fun and interactive way to learn about geography.
In 2016, social studies teacher Tori Zieger received an Appleseed grant which she used to get her students an augmented reality sandbox.
“They have a hard time, sometimes I have a hard time, recognizing that when the Himalayan Mountains are this high and it’s right next to something so low that there really is that drastic difference," Zieger said. "It really helps them to see those proportions on more than a flat map can.”
Ths sandbox uses a projector that shines down different colors onto the sand while a computer program ran through an Xbox Kinect recognizes the sand levels.
“So as you get higher it gets snow covered, and red is high. As you get low it gets orange, yellow, green, etc," Zieger said.
This way students have a hands-on, visual way to learn about geography.
“When we covered Egypt, it was kind of a student led part, and by doing this it kind of helped the other students know what was going on and that the Nile River is in Egypt and there is a Delta," Joshua Donaldson, seventh grader, said.
Another seventh grade student, Sophie Nguyen, said using the interactive sandbox helped her to retain the information better than when they used a regular map.
“I’m personally a really hands-on learner, so having a visual representation of what we’re studying really helped me learn the material," Nguyer said.
Zieger said geography can be a tough subject for students to grasp, but because the sandbox lets the students see and interact with what they're talking about they can learn the information easier.
“It is a harder subject to teach to seventh graders just because ancient and medieval history is not something that they’ve really come in contact with before, so this helps them get excited about something I’m excited about," Zieger said.