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Virtual Reality Lessons in Middle Schools

Fifth grade students at J. Watson Bailey and M. Clifford Miller recently took a Solar System Tour in Virtual Reality (VR) as part of their new New York State Science Learning Standards (NYSSLS) curriculum. Each fifth grade class was visited by BOCES Representative, Stevie Creft, over a two-week span to assist with the lesson which included VR goggles. Students enjoyed looking through the goggles to view planets, moons, stars, and the sun in 3-D, along with a few outer space robots and cameras that are currently being used for real-life outer space research studies.

How does this work? The VR goggles are connected through an application running from the instructor’s mobile tablet. The instructor controls what the students see and changes each “slide” in the goggles throughout the lesson. Students need to move their heads vertically and horizontally in order to view everything surrounding their virtual space. When looking through the goggles, it’s as if they are a star in the solar system.

This is the second year BOCES has joined the Kingston City School District to give Virtual Reality Solar System Tours. Students still have a lot more to learn about the solar system and will continue their studies of planets and stars, but having the chance to learn with this virtual reality technology is simply out of this world. “They love it! I hope we continue to do this again next year,” said Mrs. Hickey, a teacher at J. Watson Bailey.

“The implementation of NYSSLS at Grade 5 last year and Grade 6 this year has allowed students to learn through inquiry and the freedom to keep the wonder alive in science,” said Dr. Alissa Oliveto, Director of Teaching and Learning K-12.

JWB students learn the solar system with virtual reality  JWB students learn the solar system with virtual reality  JWB students learn the solar system with virtual reality  JWB students learn the solar system with virtual reality