As a practicing teacher I love testing the boundaries and trying new things in the classroom. Recently I experimented in using VR in the Classroom by exploring forces on a rollercoaster. This short post brielfy explores this activity and how students responded to the VR experience.
As part of a study forces and broader unit of work on Rube Goldberg a group of upper primary students used the VR experience to build on their knowledge and understanding. Students used the headset to experience how the rollercoaster gravity is used and manipulated by the rollercoaster. Using Samsung Gear VR headsets students were transported as passengers on a rolllercoaster. In this Virtual Reality simulation they got to ride on a rollercoaster and as a means of experiencing inertia and the laws of motion.
Engagement in the activity was extremely high and many students commented on how the experience of feeling the rollercoaster supplemented the theoretical study on forces they were doing as part of their Science learning. The culmination of the learning in this topic involved students creating a Rube Goldberg machine.
Students used the VR experience to empathize being a part of their machine and to explore how gravity could be used in their machine to move things around.
This particualr VR experience was called Roller Coaster VR2016 and is freely available for download from the Google Store. It can be used with or without a VR headset. However, there are a number of freely available/low cost Rollercoaster experiences including ones where you can ride a rollercoaster through space or under the sea.
Examples of other great Rollercoaster VR experiences include:
With the Free Coastlaity App users can ride on Rollercoastersn from different famous theme parks from all around the world. The experience is striking, your really feel like you are on the ride. This App can be used with or without a VR headset.
The Occulu Star Coaster VR App allows user to experience riding on a rollercoaster but in the amazing location through the stars. The app cost A$1.49 but is well worth the price for this very cool experience.
These VR experiences also lend themselves to working with the text 'How to Code a Rollercoaster' by Josh Funk.
After experiencing the rollercoaster using VR students could code and design their own rollercoaster in platforms like Minecraft Education or Scratch.
Students can also use VR authoring tools like CoSpaces, Unity and even the Merge Cube.
Look out for future posts about all of these great tools for students to use in creating VR.