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 Bayside STEAM Academy Constructs Augmented Reality Sandbox

Bayside STEAM Academy, a school in the South Bay Union School District, recently opened an Augmented Reality (AR) Sandbox. The sandbox provides students a real time, interactive environment to learn about topography and the impact of climate on the terrain.

The AR Sandbox allows students to create a landscape area, and with the aid of a 3D video camera and overhead projector, a topographical relief map is projected onto it. As adjustments are made to the scene, the computer responds within seconds to generate a new map. Students can build mountains, lakes, contour lines, elevations, rivers, and clouds while seeing the impact of their changes on the environment.

Bayside Principal Kevin Coordt credits his instructional team for embracing STEAM learning and for finding creative ways to teach science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. “We are committed to providing our students and families a quality STEAM program. The AR Sandbox combines several of the attributes of a successful program, including technology integration, engaging students, community involvement, and dedicated time for students to explore and tinker. We are very proud to be the first elementary school in San Diego County to have this learning tool.”

Bayside teacher Michael Moran saw a video of an AR Sandbox, which originated at the University of California, Davis, on a social media site. “As soon as I saw the Sandbox, I knew we needed one at Bayside. Given our proximity to San Diego Bay, the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, and the Otay River, it is important for our students to understand land forms, erosion, and climate. Our fourth grade is currently working on a project to improve the ability of the wetlands near Bayside to absorb higher tidal flows and rainfall.”

Bayside acknowledges and appreciates the following community members and organizations for their contribution to the development and creation of the AR Sandbox:

  • Dwayne Fernandez and Trevor Thiessen, Division of Biological Sciences, UC San Diego

  • Jeff Norton and Nate Winspear, Lorton Mitchell Custom Homes, Inc.

  • Andrew Alldredge, Alldredge Builders, Inc.

  • The Jean Ann Gallo Family Trust

  • San Diego Plastics

  • Dan Fanolla, F & L Industrial Solutions

  • Michael Moran, Bayside STEAM Academy

  • Victor Ramos, South Bay Union School District

View a picture of the AR Sandbox and watch a video of students using the sandbox.