I decided to go ahead and publish this post so you could explore the resource yourself, but once I've had a bit more of a play with the software, I'll update it with more details and ideas. In the meantime, feel free to add your own via the Comments section below of course.
This is hardly a click-and-go type resource but because of its potential, I just have to share it with you. Tim Rylands presented this at the ASB Unplugged conference in Mumbai last week and it was simply mind-blowing. The free software can be downloaded from here and the rest is up to your imagination and creativity as you create your own landscapes on a planet of your choice. While it might be time-consuming, just think of the possibilities!
I can hardly begin to list all the uses Terragen could have for extended project work or PBL, but here's a few to kick things off. In my ideal world, I'd use it for a long-term cross-curricular project with various groups coming back to the created world through the year for various learning activities. Anyway, individual subject teachers could create a world and then fill it with anything relevant. For example:
- Historians could produce areas which are portals to the past and use the backdrops as green screens for recording events
- Geography - countless ways to interact with landforms and other geographical features before exploring the impact that the peoples you decide to populate the planet with; combine with Google Sketchup for even more
- Art - use your eyes and imagination!
- English / Language Arts - lots of opportunities for descriptive and narrative writing; if non-fiction's your goal, is there anything in the world that couldn't be linked to an entire planet?