Andrew Podoll , a graduate fellow working with SIUC's NSF-funded GK-12 Heartland Ecological/Environmental Academic Research Training (HEART) borrowed one of our Em2 models for a local elementary school's "science night." He and the model were huge there, and I was excited to hear that parents of autistic students noted their kids opened up with the models.
Andrew's experience reinforced a hypothesis we're working on, that small models like ours are remarkably compelling to students and may be near perfect science teaching tools. Kids are fascinated by the water-sand interaction, and can see, touch, and control most of the variables.
Thanks to Andrew for doing this, it made my week. If a current proposal is funded by NSF, this will be happening a lot, and I'll be very happy about that.