The full title of this project is Promoting Scientific Explorers Among Students With Learning Disabilities. This project is supported by a grant to The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk at The University of Texas at Austin and the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. The applications are made with the help of UT Austin’s Simulation and Game Applications Lab.

App Development

Dune Protection App

The Dune Protection App demonstrates dune growth and protection against wind and water erosion. In order to prevent the dune from eroding away, students can place varying levels of grass, fence, and rock. Each solution has their own pros and cons. Grass helps maintain the natural ecosystem and holding the sand in place, but it provides little protection. Fences help sand build up to form the dune and provides better protection than the grass, but it is not strong enough by itself to completely protect the dune. Rocks provide the best protection, but they provide little ecological benefits when added. Students experiment with different combinations of all solutions in order to best protect the city and the natural environment.

Reef Protection App

The Reef Protection App was divided up into three different sections that will be unlockable and replayable as the students go through each one. They focus how each scenario (natural growth, artificial reef, and artificial growth) affects coral growth and land protection. The effectiveness of the solutions will also change depending on different variables of time. For example, the short term artificial tire reef may provide protection once, but it results in long term damage to the ecosystem and even damages coral.

After the solutions are placed and the time is set, students will see a timelapse. These time-lapses serve to show the short term and long term effectiveness of each solution. They also serve as a countdown before the next storm passes through. This helps differentiate the effectiveness for both the natural ecosystem and the human-made structures.

Mountain Erosion App

The Mountain Erosion App demonstrates how rainfall can cause erosion. Students are presented with a mountain with varying sizes of rock. When they initiate the storm, the rain flows down the mountain and causes the rocks to move down the mountain. The amount of rainfall and vegetation determine how many rocks are transported to the river. Students count how many of which sized rocks were deposited. Small rocks are easier to move than larger rocks, and though the exact numbers may change, that trend will remain the same.

Character Design

The curriculum features a cast of characters that appear in instructional booklets and short stories.


The graphics I made for this project were used for instructional iconography, diagrams, and illustrations for assessments and prints.