How I Use It
We use this in our science labs as a station for introduction and review. First, students completed a scavenger hunt of elements using the Periodic Table provided. They were asked about element names, classification, description, history, atomic number, and atomic weight. Students were then required to build this element in the sandbox. Students who were completed could work on building David Pogue's essential elements (nylon, red dye, caffeine, etc). At the end of this unit, students used the app to re-build these atoms (the table was reset) and practice finding the number of neutrons in the nucleus.
It was helpful that Pogue narrates each feature, so that students can hear directions as well as read them. The sound effects made it interesting enough for 8th graders without making it too hokey (and kept them engaged). I was impressed with the 3D effect of the built atoms: the electrons spun around the nucleus in a way that was scientifically accurate and gave students a realistic representation of these atoms. Once a student chooses "submit" for an element, a countdown begins. This allows students to focus seriously on their first attempt and adjust 1 or 2 particles as necessary if they've submitted the wrong element. The app sent appropriate feedback when students needed to try again.
I would LOVE for this app to add a bond features, where students can connect elements together to see how they interact with one another.