A partnership in watershed education

The ARS is currently available!  We are accepting reservations for July through August 2024.

The Augmented Reality Sandbox (ARS) is available for loan within 1 hour of the Lansing, MI Area. If you are interested in borrowing the ARS, please complete the ARS Lending Agreement. For questions, contact Val Reisen at 517-588-6302 or val.reisen@macd.org.

We are so excited that you are interested in using our Augmented Reality Sandbox! We have created this page to give videos and lesson plans to accompany the ARS. If there is a topic we have not covered here and you would like help creating a lesson plan for the ARS, or there if is something you want to see, let us know. We are more than happy to help.

In this video demonstration, you can watch as we recreate the Great Lakes Basin Watershed.


In this introduction video, you can learn about how the Augmented Reality Sandbox works.


Below are Lesson Plans for Teachers

ARS Basics for Teachers 6-8

This introduction for teachers will help you and your colleagues understand how to use the ARS in the classroom to help teach a variety of watershed topics.

Download the ‘ARS Basics for teachers 6-8’ PDF

Getting to know the curriculum 4-8

Get to know the ARS and the state curriculum it corresponds with. This tool may help you think of other topic to go over while you have the ARS.

Download the ‘Getting to know the curriculum 4-8’ PDF

Pollution in Watersheds Student Worksheet

This lesson includes content about watershed, what they are and the pollution that can occur from every day activities. Students can work in groups, while one group is working in the ARS box the other students can complete activities at their group tables.

Watch the video reference for this topic.

Download the ‘Pollution in Watersheds Student Worksheet’ PDF


Understanding Watersheds through Topographic Maps

Not everyone understands or have ever had to use a topographic map. Use this lesson with the ARS to help others understand not only how to read a topographic map but also how a watershed might look on a topographical of the maps.

Download the ‘Understanding Watersheds Through Topographical Maps’ PDF


Creating Your School Watershed

Meant for a group of students, but easily converted to any group, participants can put their brains together with their understanding of a watershed and create their school’s watershed. Think of things like where all of the water goes when it rains or the snow melts. Does the water drain somewhere? Does it create big puddles to splash in? Here is a video Reference for this topic Creating a local watershed video

Recreating the Great Lakes Basin

This lesson is an introduction to the Great Lakes Basin. This allows your group to be able to visualize how water runs over Michigan and how we have a positive or negative effect on the Great Lakes as a whole.

Download the ‘Great Lakes Basin Watershed’ lesson plan

Understanding your local Watershed

This map of the Charlotte area, as well as the questions can help give your group an understanding of their local watershed. Don’t live in Charlotte or Eaton County? No problem, contact us and we can alter this lesson to fit your needs and your area.

Download the ‘Understanding you local watershed’ Lesson plan

Augmented Reality Sandbox setup

Check out this video teaching you how to properly setup the ARS both hardware and software, as well as troubleshoot both the projector and the camera.

For step by step instructions on how to setup and run the ARS download our setup and run document ARS Set up and Run

Check out our Glossary of watershed terms, this includes different terms from the lesson plans as well as any other vocabulary you would like to introduce to your group.

Watershed Glossary of terms document

Check out our What is a Watershed poster as another fun visual way to show watersheds and how they work.

The Augmented Reality Sandbox is managed by the Michigan Water Stewardship Program through Eaton Conservation District and Greater Lansing Regional Committee for Stormwater Management through Tri-County Regional Planning Commission.

A grant was submitted in 2022 by the Eaton Conservation District, Greater Lansing Regional Committee for Stormwater Management, and Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council for the NOAA B-WET Program to fund the development of the Augmented Reality Sandbox and train area teachers in its use.

The Augmented Reality Sandbox was developed by the UC Davis W.M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in the Earth Sciences (KeckCAVES, keckcaves.org) and supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL 1114663.