Udomprasert P, Goodman A, Sunbury S, Zhang ZH, Sadler P, Dussault M, Block S, Lotridge E, Jackson J, Constantin A. Visualizing Moon Phases with WorldWide Telescope, in Cosmos in the Classroom, 125th Annual Meeting. San Jose, CA: Astronomical Society of the Pacific ; 2014.Abstract
We report preliminary results from an NSF-funded project to build, test, and research the impact of a WorldWide Telescope Visualization Lab (WWT Vizlab), meant to oer learners a deeper physical understanding of the causes of the Moon’s phases. The Moon Phases VizLab is designed to promote accurate visualization of the complex, 3-dimensional Earth-Sun-Moon relationships required to understand the Moon’s phases, while also providing opportunities for middle school students to practice critical science skills, like using models, making predictions and observations, and linking them in evidence-based explanations. In the VizLab, students use both computer-based models and lamp + ball physical models.
We present findings from the first two phases of the study - one where we compared learning gains from the WWT VizLab with a traditional 2-dimensional Moon phases simulator; and another where we experimented with different ways of blending physical and virtual models in the classroom.