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Exploring Mars with Augmented Reality

On Monday, March 26th, Google Pioneer Program Facilitator, Edward Dovlatyan, spent the day at The Peck School sharing Google's new Expedition AR technology with our community. Students in grades 5, 6, and 7 had the opportunity to explore the surface of Mars, investigate the mechanics and workings of one of the Mars rovers, and explore the depths of a Martian crater.
“Imagine staring into the eye of a miniature Category 5 hurricane or getting up close with a strand of DNA. With Expeditions AR, teachers can bring the world into the classroom to help engage students with immersive lessons,” claims Google.
 
The technology behind Google’s new Expedition app uses augmented reality to map a 3D object and place it within a classroom on a smartphone screen. Students can then walk around the object, analyze it as a group, move in close to examine details, or step back to get a wider perspective. In this way, objects and environments that are impossible or difficult to see and visualize can come alive in the classroom.

The Peck School’s Upper School Science Teachers, Genny Elias-Warren and Tim Loveday encountered the technology at a conference in November of 2017. They have been working ever since to participate in Google’s Pioneer Program. This special pilot program offers a free one-day demonstration for faculty and students, as well as, separate training for faculty as part of a nationwide beta test of the software and hardware.
 
“Our students had the opportunity to really get physical with the planet Mars in ways that aren’t otherwise possible. It was truly amazing to watch students who aren't normally engaged in science take the lead on exploring and then connect it to our classroom learning,” said Ms. Elias-Warren after a session with the students.
 
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