The tuition-free public charter school recently received a grant from the STEM Action Center Utah to integrate virtual reality into its science class content through a project called Google Expeditions and Discovery VR. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
The school requested and received a $1,500 grant for the virtual reality class kit. The kit includes 15 pairs of virtual reality goggles and supporting hardware and software.
Beehive Science & Technology Academy will use the new technology primarily for sixth and ninth grade students (the school teaches grades six through 12).
According to Beehive Science & Technology Academy science teacher, Hulya Kablan, “With the virtual reality class kit, my students will be able to explore scientific topics in a way that was never possible before. For example, astronomy is the biggest part of the sixth-grade curriculum. Before I received the class kit, I was limited to a few experiments and demonstrations. Now, my students can explore the planets, stars, constellations and the universe. I can take my ninth-grade honors biology students inside a cell or an organ, or even a rain forest. Instead of just watching videos, students will have the opportunity to be inside a specific environment. Instead of being inactive at their desks, they will be active learners.”
She added, “I am now able to organize tours that are normally impossible. For example, my sixth-grade students can be part of a mayday escape from the International Space Station because of space debris. My ninth-grade students can actually take a three-dimensional tour inside of a cell or an organ, like a heart. This technology is truly bringing new experiences to my classes.”