119 Simulations, Games, and VR for Climate, Weather, and Atmospheric Science Education

Monday, 8 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Randy Russell, UCAR, Boulder, CO

The UCAR Center for Science Education has developed numerous computer-based simulations, games, and virtual labs about topics related to atmospheric science for use in Earth science education. We will provide live demonstrations of some of these interactives at our poster and provide information and screenshots of others. We have also assembled a web-based compendium with information about and links to simulations and games relevant to atmospheric science education from many other sources (universities, NOAA, NASA, etc.).

Atmospheric science topics addressed by our simulations and games include: climate modeling, clouds (identification and sorting games), layers of the atmosphere, Earth's energy balance, atmospheric chemistry, paleoclimates (tree rings and dendrochronology), El Niño/ENSO, and air parcels and atmospheric stability. UCAR SciEd also has several games and interactives about the Sun and space weather, including the Sun Sorting Game, the Sun & Space Weather Memory Game, the Compare Multispectral Sun Images interactive, and the Compare Solar Eclipse Photos interactive.

Simulations and virtual labs allow students to explore topics as active learners, making choices and decisions as they learn instead of passively absorbing ideas. Some simulations enable students to investigate phenomena that would be unsafe, prohibitively expensive, or too time-consuming to explore in "the real world". Games can motivate learners to spend more time with a subject, sometimes outside of required school assignments. As online and mixed (online and face-to-face) courses become more prevalent, resources such as simulations and games that support active learning in computer-based environments will play an ever-larger role in science education.

UCAR SciEd has begun to explore the use of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies for science education. We will demonstrate some of our early efforts in those emerging fields as well.


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