Earlier this week I was looking through a list of augmented reality apps that I’ve tried over the years when I was reminded of the World Wildlife Fund’s Free Rivers app. Playing with that app again prompted me to look for some similar resources. Here’s a few fun apps and sites that students can use to learn about the importance of fresh water in the ecosystem.
WWF Free Rivers
WWF Free Rivers is a free augmented reality iPad app produced by the World Wildlife Foundation. The app uses augmented reality to present a story about rivers. In the app students learn about the importance of free-flowing rivers in world. The app offers a series of sections or experiences through which students can learn about how free flowing rivers support wildlife, agriculture, and people.
WWF Free Rivers tells students stories about the implications of changes in weather patterns, damming rivers, and pollution on river ecosystems. Students interact with these stories by moving their iPads and or by pinching and zooming on elements in the stories. Unlike some other AR apps the animations within WWF Free Rivers can be experienced by students from a variety of angles. A great example of this is found early in the app when students can see what a dam does to a river. During that experience students can see the dam from above, from below, and from the sides.
Aquation is a free iOS, Android, and web game offered by the the Smithsonian Science Education Center. The game, designed for students in upper elementary school or middle school, teaches students about the distribution of clean water and what can be done to balance global water resources. In the game students select a region to explore its current water supplies. Based on the information provided students take action in the form of building desalination plants, conducting further research, reacting to natural events, and attempting to move water between regions.
River Runner is a neat website that shows you how a drop of water travels from anywhere in the United States to the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, or the Gulf of Mexico. To use River Runner simply go to the site and click on any location in the United States. As soon as you click on the map, River Runner will generate and play an animation of the path that a drop of water would travel from that location to get to the ocean. You can stop the animation, rewind it, and fast forward it if you like. The animation is based on data collected from the USGS. The code for the site can be found here on GitHub.