Virtual Climate Masterpieces

There are times when you’re impressed, and times when you’re really impressed. Seeing the completed student productions at the Digital Wave Family Event was one of those times you had to be really impressed. During the 2-week Digital Wave Summer Academy, high school students learned about climate change while also gaining 3D design skills. Students formed groups, and each group chose a topic – groups chose everything from deforestation and sea level rise to carbon emissions and acid rain. After doing some individual research on their group’s topic, students went to work creating their masterpieces in the virtual world of Second Life. Their challenge was to design and build 3D virtual exhibits and animations, with the goal being to create something that would help others learn about climate change. All the projects turned out to be amazing. Check out just a couple of them that students presented to their families and Museum staff at this event. (Each image has a description of that group’s topic below the image.) And just try not to be impressed by what these students learned and created.

Before (left): A healthy forest with a big glacier nearby, and a house sitting a safe distance from the water’s edge. After (right): After deforestation by humans has destroyed the forest, all the carbon which has been stored in the trees is released into the atmosphere, accelerating the atmosphere’s warming greenhouse effect, which melts ice, raises sea levels, and affects environments and habitats.

Visitors to this theatre may sit and enjoy a short video (also created by this student group) about the effects of climate change on the Earth’s polar regions. They would learn that the Antarctic Peninsula’s temperature has risen 5.4degrees since 1950; and that by the end of the century, sea levels could rise by 3 feet. Visitors could then start a simulation on the exhibit to the right – as the ice sheets melt, the sea level rises.

What’s the connection between human industries, natural environments, and acid rain? This simulation displays a factory, illustrating how industrial activities, and the burning of fossil fuels, increase greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere. This can then change the chemistry of the atmosphere, soils, forests, and oceans – acid rain and ocean acidification can in turn affect soils, vegetation, and ocean habitats.

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One Response to Virtual Climate Masterpieces

  1. Christine says:

    Beautiful and fantastic

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