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Upgrade to AR Sandbox Expands K-12 Students’ Geography Knowledge

Michael Camponovo, Department of Geography geographic information system (GIS) outreach coordinator, won a 2017-18 Community Engagement Incentive grant for a proposal to upgrade the department’s Augmented Reality Sandbox (AR Sandbox). This upgrade allowed the department to conduct educational outreach with nearly 3,000 K-12 students, teachers, and family members in 2017.

The AR Sandbox teaches students about the interactions between topography and water as they manipulate the sand to form mountains and valleys and watch the terrain change. With the Incentive grant, Camponovo and his team were able to help students better understand concepts like watersheds and to conceptualize a flat topographic map as a three-dimensional surface.

Community partners include Knox County Schools across East Tennessee, Tennessee Geographic Alliance, East TN STEM Hub, and UTK Office of Community Engagement and Outreach.

UT Community Engagement Grants are allocated through a competitive annual process; subject to both academic and community peer review. The call is issued through the Office of Community Engagement and Outreach within the Office of Research and Engagement.  Six community-campus partnerships were awarded funds for projects that enhance UT’s public engagement mission.

Learn more about Camponovo’s project through the 2017 GIS Outreach and Community Engagement story map.