Universe Sandbox ²

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Universe Sandbox ²

Universe Sandbox ²

Giant Army
A space simulator for creating solar systems and exploring astronomical phenomena.

Universe Sandbox ² is a space simulator that makes it possible to enter the Solar System and experience its principles. There are several tools that help the users to understand difficult concepts of basic astronomy in a practical way.

The use of Universe Sandbox ² will help learners in practicing and learning astronomy and physics.

TeacherGaming Desk offers lesson plans for using the game in classrooms.
The product was evaluated based on these plans.

Age groups 
Middle school
High School
Tertiary Education
One time purchase
Desktop Windows
Desktop Mac
Offline play 
Internet required
Educational Quality
Learning Goals

The pedagogical analysis covers how the product supports learning of the identified skills. The student’s role is assessed by four contrary pair parameters, which are selected to cover the most essential aspects on the use of the product.

Universe Sandbox ² is an open tool for exploring the Solar System. It requires active participation from the user as it allows nearly limitless possibilities.
The user constructs new information while actively trying out new scenarios.
Tutorials set a good structure and a path for the user. This means that the users have a goal for the action they perform. The path is linear at the beginning when the user is not yet fully familiar with the game.
The product is mainly used individually.

The following are the high educational quality aspects in this product.

Universe Sandbox ² is a complex and varied simulation tool that is interesting from kids to adults.
The product offers a concrete way to get familiar with an abstract subject.
The game offers detailed tutorials and plenty of imaginative examples to help the users get started.
The TeacherGaming Desk lesson plan materials let the students focus on a few things so that they don't get overwhelmed by the complexity of the game.

The supported learning goals are identified by matching the product with several relevant curricula descriptions on this subject area. The soft skills are definitions of learning goals most relevant for the 21st century. They are formed by taking a reference from different definitions of 21st century skills and Finnish curriculum.

Subject based learning goals

Experiencing the causes and consequences of celestial collisions
Knowing more about Pluto’s structure, its specificities as an unusual body
Understanding Newton’s gravitational explanation for elliptical orbits
Practising with the principal characteristics of the planets including relative size, mass, surface temperature, atmosphere, satellite and ring systems
Practising to scale and size of the Solar System
Learning about different bodies in our Solar System including planets, exoplanets and small solar system objects
Knowing the appearance of Solar System from different point of view

Soft skills learning goals

Using technology as a part of explorative process
Using technology resources for problem solving
Practicing logical reasoning to understand and interpret information in different forms
Learning to recognise and evaluate arguments and their reasonings
Practicing to plan and execute studies, make observations and measurements
Practicing to look things from different perspectives
Encouraging to build new information and visions
Learning to build information on top of previously learned
Practicing to notice causal connections
Learning to plan and organize work processes

The Finnish Educational Quality Certificate

Our Quality Evaluation Method is an academically sound approach to evaluating a product’s pedagogical design from the viewpoint of educational psychology.

The method has been developed with university researchers and all evaluators are carefully selected Finnish teachers with a master's degree in education.

More about the evaluation