How do you teach seventh graders about human body systems, the structure of cells or even the layers of the atmosphere? By making it real. And this is exactly what JN Fries Middle School teacher, Joanne Bernard, wants to do through the use of Merge Cubes, an augmented reality teaching tool.
Funding for this type of hands-on experiences is not available through traditional school funding sources. So, this is where the Cabarrus County Education Foundation (CCEF) steps in. "The foundation rewards our teachers innovative and creative ideas that expand students' learning experiences," shares Amy Gough, CCEF Executive Director. “And this project does this in an incredibly exciting way and why we awarded it our CCEF Surprise Holiday Classroom Grant.”
As part of their study of human body systems, students take on the role of a doctor to learn about the various body systems through reading and watching videos to become “experts.” The unit culminates with students presenting their diagnosed “patient” to local healthcare professionals. Through the use of the Merge Cubes, “students will be able to interact with the human body in a way they never could with just text and videos,” writes Bernard. Imagine holding a human heart, lungs and brain as well as exploring other organs and body systems from inside the body.
Students will not only gain this skill but will also be introduced to various medical career fields. With a growing population of students who do not have a tradition of higher education in their families, exposing these students to medical professions in a highly engaging way allows them to consider career paths they may have never considered before. Sparking that light in students is what brings learning to life!