This is a pilot project exploring ways to use simulation in learning. The simulation is of the Solar System, and this is an exploration of ways in which added interactivity can facilitate learning.
So far we have a Director movie which simulates the Solar System in 3D. The relative sizes, orbital periods and distances from the Sun are fed into the engine, and ways of scaling logarythmically are being explored.
The functionality currently allows the user to alter the focus of the camera to all the planets and moons, and the position of the camera in relation to its focus (zoom, vertical pan). Users can also enlarge or decrease the size of the planets, and the speeds of their orbital periods and spin.
Issues to explore now are what kinds of response should be developed. It is envisaged that the functionality should include:
Context sensitive info menu providing data about each planet, images from satellites, etc
Dynamic responses to changes in the planets' size, period or spin - eg shorter days / longer days, consequences for satellites being swallowed, becoming so large that their gravity alters orbital paths, consequences for life-sustaining systems, etc. [With apologies to the excellent Planet 10 by Wired Science!]
Other similar movies containing similar simulations focussed on :