Teachers and parents alike sometimes struggle with teaching about space or our solar system, but there is one tool that will guarantee that your child not only learns, but has fun, the space simulator.
Everyone knows that children like video games. It is also challenging to find a video game that is educational. Sure there are educational games out there, but more are simply a teaching session with poorly designed game mechanics stuck on the top. Children don’t play these pseudo-games for long because they are not engaging.
Now, what if you could be guaranteed that your child would learn something while playing a video game? A space simulator, though not truly a game is a wonderful way to have your child learn without them even realizing it. Imagine what your child would do if given a game that allowed them to fly through space, visit the planets in our solar and even travel beyond its reaches to stars, planets and systems that we can only see by telescope. Now imagine if the time that your child spends playing on your XBox, PS3, Wii or computer was spent playing a space simulator. The amount that they learned would be staggering.
Why Does it Work?
Most children are visual learners. A space simulator is for the most part, a giant visual learning center. Imagine explaining the orbits of the planets around the Sun to a child. Now imagine showing the orbits to a class in real time and seeing their faces as they watch the planets circle the Sun. Because they have seen the information, they can relate to it and remember it more effectively.
Human beings learn more efficiently when the teaching medium is interactive. If you read from a textbook a certain, small percentage of a class will understand the material. If you allow the students to interact, in this case via a space simulator they will grasp the concepts more readily and have much more fun while they do it.
What Features are Important in a Space Simulator?
The software must be easy to use. If it is too complex then children will become frustrated and stop playing. It needs to be visually attractive. Kids love colour and motion and the galaxy is full of both. If the space simulator that you choose doesn’t appeal to the child then again, they will stop using it. The space simulator should also include a way to go back in time to see eclipses and other events that have happened in the past. If you do get stuck a user’s guide is essential. Not as essential, but an important aspect of any space simulator are guided tours. It’s one thing to go out and find the planets, but another to be taken on a tour by someone who can explain it all. It is also a great benefit if the software can be used on multiple machines. Sitting beside your child and playing along with them is a great way to reinforce the learning that they are achieving. Lifetime upgrades and updates is also a handy feature and usually means that the company stands behind their work. Last, but certainly not least, buy a product with a money back guarantee. If you don’t like it, simply ask for a refund.
There are many space simulators on the market, but the one that I have had the most enjoyment from is 3D Astronomer, a product developed by a gentleman named John Bayer. This space simulator has all of the benefits I have mentioned in the previous paragraph and has never disappointed anyone that I have recommended it to.