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Virtual reality cell

Looking Inside

a vr screen with build a cell options

Welcome to Looking Inside! A suite of Virtual Reality simulations that will give students the chance to build and dissect their own living cells, control the stages of mitosis, and specialize their cells before becoming tissues. Each simulation has checkpoints with adaptive feedback to guide users toward solutions, and students can take and save custom pictures from within the VR environment to their personal device.

Get ready to engage with collaborative, 3D, interactive models! We hope this Virtual Reality* experience will increase students’ engagement and excitement for STEM learning, bring out their naturally inquisitive natures, and improve their outcomes with these subjects.

All of the simulations are designed to be used by groups of 2-4 students, but can also be completed individually, or as a performance using the “Spectator” to watch from another computer. The Looking Inside simulations are modular and can be rearranged to fit your classroom needs. Being instructionally agnostic, the sims can also be worked into your curriculum using a variety of teaching styles and protocols. Use Know-Want to Know-Learned (K-W-L) charts to track progress, a fishbowl for a classwide collaborative approach, jigsaw groups through all 10 sims, place the VR experience in a rotation of learning stations, or even use the Spectator to create engaging, performative lectures. Whatever style is your favorite to use in the classroom, our modular simulations should fit right in!

a yellow virtual reality cell with the word melanocyte above it

Looking Inside is a 5G-enabled mixed-reality learning experience for small groups of students. The goal is to enhance science learning, especially for students in underserved communities, by giving teachers exciting and motivating inquiry-based learning experiences that apply validated design principles of effective learning. For the purpose of this first suite of simulations, we chose the middle school science topics of cell biology, but the app can support other topics and learners of other ages. The pedagogy for this app combines elements of constructivism, collaborative learning, and experiential learning.

virtual reality cell

Kids Privacy Assured by PRIVO: COPPA Safe Harbor Certification

New York University is a member of the PRIVO Kids Privacy Assured COPPA safe harbor certification Program (“the Program”). The Program certification applies to the digital properties listed on the certification page that is viewable by clicking on the PRIVO Seal.

PRIVO’s COPPA Safe Harbor Certification



COPPA Safe Harbor Certification

PRIVO is an independent, third-party organization committed to supporting online services to safeguard children’s personal information collected online. The PRIVO COPPA safe harbor certification Seal posted on this page indicates New York University has established COPPA compliant privacy practices and has agreed to submit to PRIVO’s oversight and consumer dispute resolution process. If you have questions or concerns about our privacy practices, please contact us at 703.569.050. If you have further concerns after you have contacted us, you can contact PRIVO directly at

Privacy Policy and Looking Inside Cells End User License Agreement (EULA)

Funder Info

PIs: Ken Perlin, Jan L. Plass

Funder: Verizon Foundation