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Teachers can best use Collisions: Play Chemistry by pairing it with quality class discussions. Let each student try a challenge individually, then have kids come together to discuss what solutions did and didn't work. Try having students draw their solutions out on large pieces of paper or whiteboards.
As a class, try to come up with rules. For example, they may notice that the only winning models are ones where students filled one orbital at a time with an electron before adding a second. Let students return to Collisions: Play Chemistry to see if their rules work.Continue reading Show less
With Collisions: Play Chemistry, students figure out how to play a game, but the rules of the game are actually chemistry principles. First students follow a tutorial and explore freely in the sandbox before they use tools to enhance their chemistry skills in a set of increasingly difficult challenges. Students learn about building atoms, atomic size, energy, covalent bonding, ions, and ionic bonding.
The Atoms module is free, but the others can cost a single teacher up to $395 per year for multiple classes. Districts with many teacher users can get bulk discounts.
Collisions: Play Chemistry highlights the three-dimensional nature of the Next Generation of Science Standards. While students are learning about atoms, they are also observing patterns and periodic trends. During gameplay, kids can get things wrong, get feedback, and keep on playing. If a player tries to put more than two electrons in an orbital, it will flash red. This helps students make immediate corrections and makes learning chemistry less intimidating.
At times the game can be really frustrating. Students basically learn Hund's rule by guessing and checking, trying to drag and drop electrons they find into an arrangement that gets accepted. This is a chance for kids to use a model to predict relationships between electrons. However, teachers may need to provide additional support to make sure the student struggle remains productive and kids don't get stuck.
Key Standards Supported
Matter and Its Interactions
Use the periodic table as a model to predict the relative properties of elements based on the patterns of electrons in the outermost energy level of atoms.
Plan and conduct an investigation to gather evidence to compare the structure of substances at the bulk scale to infer the strength of electrical forces between particles.
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