ChemClub can be a great opportunity for some informal learning about basic chemistry concepts, but they have to be fun, engaging and appropriate.
A recent ACS Newsletter featured an article that offered 24 free chemistry apps for iPads that are appropriate for chemistry students. The list was compiled by Christopher Pappas of elearningindustry.com and it includes a wide range of subject matter and levels. While some are more appropriate for a university level, there are many that high school chem students will enjoy.
For example there is Atom-Builder, a game designed to teach students the skills they need to count protons, neutrons, and electrons in an atom. In another app called Chemistry Formulas Practice, students learn the skill of naming compounds and writing formulas.
One of my personal favorites is NOVA Elements. This is part of the educational support materials that were developed for the two-hour NOVA program, “Hunting the Elements.” Using this app you can explore and interactive periodic table, play a game with the host of the Nova program or watch “Hunting the Elements”. ACS worked with NOVA in the development of some of the support materials for the show.
Beyond the apps listed in the ACS Newsletter, there are a number of interesting items for both iOS and Android based platforms.
A new app called Elements 4D is amazing. Technology often amazes me, but doesn’t often surprise me. Elements 4D did both. Print out paper cubes and fold them into shape. Each face is printed with an element name, at. no. and at. wt. But when you hold the paper cube in front of the smart device camera, it changes into a transparent cube with a representation of the element inside! There is also basic information about the element in text below the image. Take two cubes and hold them together in front of the camera and if they can react, they will, and the programs shows the product. Making the paper cubes would be a great club activity.
A search for Chemistry Apps on Google Play generated a dozen hits. Among these was Chemistry Helper, which the site describes as “A simple app designed as a quick reference for chemistry students. Includes a periodic table with links to wikipedia, a tool to calculate molecular masses of compounds (with a button at the top to perform simple grams/moles calculations, calculate mass percents and do stoichiometry.” Plus lots of other functions.
Complete Chemistry includes tutorials, problem solvers, quizzes, formulas and a chemical dictionary. It received great reviews as an effective tool to help students learn chemistry.
ChemPro: Chemistry Tutor is aimed at AP Students or General Chem students. It is linked to video lessons and has an array of flash cards to help student learn important basic information. Students can try various experiments with no danger of broken test tubes or expensive reagents.
And finally, there is Chemist: Virtual Chem Lab, which (for $4.99) allows you to do a variety of virtual experiments on your smart tablet. Students can try various experiments with no danger of broken test tubes or expensive reagents.
Students seem to be drawn to technology, especially when it is fun and interesting. Check out these apps to see if they might have a place in your next ChemClub activity.