NASA 3D View: DAY 1 The Atmosphere

Project 3D-VIEW [Virtual Interactive Environmental Worlds] is a truly interdisciplinary science curriculum for Grades 5 or 6. The program utilizes simple-to-use 3D technologies and is designed to increase student performance in science by building understanding of difficult concepts. 3D-VIEW is designed for adoption into the curriculum. 

For a tour of the curriculum, check out the website:

I have had the privilege of participating in this training through my connection with Columbia University Teachers College. I’ll be writing a summary of each class as
 blog entries.

The first class was all about the Atmosphere and used 3D graphics on a DVD program to show students realistic pictures of natural phenomena. The majority of the course is instructing us “students” how to use these materials as a supplement to classroom teaching. There is also a book with each unit that tells a story students can relate to. The atmosphere story details the journey of mountain climbers up Mt. Everest!!

One aspect of the Atmosphere unit that struck me as fascinating was a misconception addressed. Most students in grades 4-7 think air is made of no

thing and therefore has no mass! The simple experiment this curriculum suggests would easily tackle this misconception.

We can show air has mass by balancing clay on one side and a full balloon on the other side. pop the balloon and the ruler is now unbalanced!!!

When I searched online, I found this picture. When the two balloons are inflated, the rulers hangs parallel to the ground. When one balloon is popped (the sound can be reduced by poking through a piece of tape on the balloon). It is clear that a balloon filled with air is heavier than a balloon of equal size and (initial) weight.

Definitely check this program out and the other programs associated with the same organization!


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