I have the honor and privilege of working with multiple grade levels of students at a small, rural school. My school prides itself on its feeling of community and family, and each teacher has a personal connection with each and every student. Personally, I am excited to be able to work with students in 8th-, 9th-, and 12th-grade. My 8th-grade scientists are working their way through physical science, and love to learn through the creation of products and models. Once my scientists move into 9th-grade, they transition to exploring the universe as they study earth and space science. When they return to me in the 12th-grade, they finally get to jump headfirst into the fascinating world of physics.
We focus heavily on scientific communication and real-world applications, incorporating other subjects regularly and developing authentic artifacts to share with the broader community.
For example, I had a group of students last year who engaged in an independent service activity decide to clean up the roadways around the school to prevent water pollution. Another group designed and implemented a recycling lesson with elementary students that centered on making doll outfits out of recycled materials!
As students study Earth and Space Science, they learn about the geologic diversity of the planet. They hear about the beauty of glaciers, canyons, and oceans, but they cannot truly appreciate that beauty from within the confines of the classroom. While photos and videos help them to increase their understanding of natural phenomena, this understanding remains incomplete.
With the help of virtual reality, however, students can enjoy an immersive educational experience that allows them to internalize the power and beauty of science.
My students deserve the ability to experience firsthand those things that they would otherwise only be able to learn about in the abstract. This project requests five student handheld devices with the capability of running the Google Cardboard software, Google's powerful new Virtual Reality engine. It also requests five virtual reality viewers, a tablet to power Google Expeditions virtual trips for students, and a router to network all of these devices together. Pre-packaged kits with similar components are often priced at nearly $2,000, so I am excited to be able to offer the same functionality to my students for a fraction of that cost.
Please consider helping me to move my students into the future of science education by supporting this project.
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