Gravbox: Using Augmented Reality to Communicate Topics and Foster Interest in Physics and Astronomy

The project will use the University of Iowa-built Gravbox augmented reality gravity simulator to communicate topics around gravity and to foster interest in physics and astronomy. The target audience will primarily be junior high students from underprivileged backgrounds from the Iowa City area who are part of the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program. Investigative learning environment (ISLE) philosophy will be used to build a ‘lesson plan’ for the event, which has been shown to reduce pressure possibly felt by students to answer questions. Since Gravbox is primarily housed at the Eastern Iowa Observatory and Learning Center (EIOLC), educational demonstrations will also be done at monthly public observing nights as a secondary part of the project in order to effectively communicate topics related to gravity and astronomy to a broad audience. The goal is to raise interest in physics among underrepresented students and communicate important scientific ideas to the general public.

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