Common Sense Review
Updated March 2014

Chem Lab

Decent tool for building chemical formulas, but gameplay is monotonous
Common Sense Rating 2
Teacher Rating
Not Yet Rated
  • The app is very basic, making navigation easy.
  • Instructions and a cheat sheet may help struggling kids.
  • Kids drag and drop elements to build a compound.
  • Each round is scored and timed.
Interactive way for kids to practice building chemical formulas; scores and times are calculated for each round.
Instruction is lacking, and the game isn't very engaging.
Bottom Line
Straightforward science tool can help kids who need to practice with chemical formulas.
Debbie Gorrell
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 2
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 2

Basic graphics and repetitious activity probably won't keep kids interested for long.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 2

Kids have to rely heavily on prior knowledge because instruction isn't built into the app. Correct feedback is given, so motivated kids can learn from their mistakes.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

Kids will be able to easily navigate through this basic tool, but there's an instruction page just in case. A "cheat sheet" lists some of the common elements and their symbols.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

If you're looking for a quick, interactive way for kids to practice building chemical formulas, then Chem Lab might be a good option. Ideally, kids will be quite familiar with elements, compounds, and building formulas. Have kids work in pairs or small groups, taking turns completing a round of five compounds. Challenge kids to get the highest score and lowest time. It could be fun to keep a record of all students' scores and times and create a class leaderboard. Continue practicing throughout your chemistry unit, or even throughout the year, to help kids improve fluency.

Read More Read Less
What's It Like?

Chem Lab is really quite basic. The home screen has a Start button and an information icon. Kids can tap the icon to view instructions for using the app and a cheat sheet of common elements and their symbols. When starting the game, kids are given the name of a chemical compound and must drag and drop elements into a flask to complete the chemical formula for the compound. Kids earn a point if they get it right, and each timed round includes five compounds. If kids get it wrong, the flask explodes and the correct formula is given. The game includes over 60 organic and inorganic compounds.

Read More Read Less
Is It Good For Learning?

Teaching instructions and explanations are lacking, so Chem Lab is best suited for practice. Although it's interactive, with drag-and-drop features, gameplay is repetitious and seems more like a drill than an actual game. The chemical compounds are randomly selected for each round, which means that learning does not progress in terms of difficulty level. One nice feature is that the rounds are timed and scored. This could motivate kids to improve and learn from their mistakes.

Read More Read Less

See how teachers are using Chem Lab