Explorable Earthquakes

Click here for the working demo and here for the code.

I made this in the winter of 2015 for a project at IBM Research as part of the Watson Cognitive Tutor, where we were challenged to teach concepts of earthquakes to 9th graders in New York in prep for their Regents exams. The IBM team introduced me to Bret Victor and the term “Explorable Explanations”, and it reinvigorated my excitement for interactive education. In this project I was particularly proud of how I learned to use the Tangle.js library and integrated it with the HTML canvas. Also, it was challenging to convert a static teaching lesson into a dynamic and interactive one. But my favorite part was the idea I had to explain an earthquake from the perspective of an anthropmorphized earthquake sensor using animated gifs. Finally, my hobby of browsing memes had paid off!

I made this four years ago and it was my first time making an interactive educational project, so there are many changes I would make. The METALS program taught me many skills to improve usability and student learning, so I would like to revisit this project by performing some user testing and revisiting the literature on learning science.