Common Sense


Top Tech for Chemistry Classrooms

Whether students are in elementary school or getting ready to head to college, the skills they learn in a chemistry class will transfer readily to the real world, from the chore of cleaning to the art of cooking. Chemical analysis is a crucial skill that we use to solve crimes, to promote safety in our manufacturing industry, and to ensure we have clean air and water. And while learning properties and the periodic table of elements are critical components of chemistry, understanding the interplay between these pieces helps build true understanding. From the lecture to the lab, these digital picks will help students use augmented reality to model atoms, play with simulations of chemical reactions, explore the periodic table, and watch the inspired work of today's chemists.

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Top Picks


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American Chemical Society

Chemistry resources for teachers and kids, straight from the experts

Bottom line: Use the site to stay current on chemistry topics and tidbits, and to research some of your queries; just keep tabs on your time.

Photo Stuff with Ruff

Materials science photo app gets kids examining their surroundings

Bottom line: Perfect for physical science lessons in classrooms with handheld devices, but the app needs an update to prevent crashing.

States of Matter by Tinybop

Cute, open-ended chemistry app encourages experimentation

Bottom line: A flexible, sandbox-y chemistry app built for exploration that will help early elementary students play with chemistry concepts safely.

Toca Lab: Elements

No safety equipment required as kids spin, heat, and freeze elements

Bottom line: The game is a fun introduction to chemistry and the elements, but kids won't learn detailed scientific information.


Impressive, interactive 3D models augment classroom learning

Bottom line: While some models are lower resolution and less appealing, Lifeliqe is still a no-brainer for supplying mostly clear, professional 3D models for deep investigation.

Minecraft: Education Edition

Stellar collaboration tools, controls make Minecraft classroom-ready

Bottom line: An excellent tool to engage students in learning, collaboration, and critical thinking is now more accessible than ever to teachers.

DIY Nano

Turn kids into budding nanoscientists who explore the tiniest things

Bottom line: Scientist-reviewed videos and activities relate nanoscience to everyday life.

PhET Interactive Simulations

Massive collection of excellent (and free!) science and math simulations

Bottom line: Instantly add meaningful lab experiences to math and science classrooms for exactly $0? It's tough to beat that.

Common Sense Selection

ExploreLearning Gizmos

Vast array of impressive, interactive science and math simulations

Bottom line: This powerful and extensive set of math and science tools puts the learning in students' hands.


Support kids' sense of wonder with outstanding short video lessons

Bottom line: TED-Ed includes excellent, engaging videos and support for flipped-class lessons with an incredible community of thinkers and doers.


Virtual labs epitomize the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices

Bottom line: Earth, life, and physical science simulations coach kids through the NGSS Practices.

My Molecularium

Molecule-building app handy for visual learning but lacks depth

Bottom line: Students who persevere will have a little fun and get an opportunity to study the arrangement of atoms in many types of molecules, though the lack of depth means it's just a piece of the puzzle.

NOVA Elements

Info-packed science resource great for teaching the elements

Bottom line: NOVA Elements is an awesome tool that can be used to build knowledge and understanding while keeping students engaged in the learning process.

The Concord Consortium

Vast collection of science resources emphasizes written reflection

Bottom line: A selection of online science simulations paired with a teacher dashboard to track progress.

Happy Atoms

Build molecules with physical models, explore with your device

Bottom line: Empower students to learn about molecules -- built with physical models -- using the camera on a hand-held device.

Molecular Workbench

Regularly updated resource features great simulations and modules

Bottom line: For teachers with the time to prepare, these are great resources for just about any science classroom.


Customize science simulations to highlight phenomena

Bottom line: Science simulations become more effective with teacher-added edits and formative assessments.


Definitive periodic table with all the bells and whistles

Bottom line: You won't need any other once you have probed the depths of this truly complete reference resource.

Chairs! Organic Chemistry Game

Learn chemistry chair conformations through a tactile puzzle game

Bottom line: This fun puzzle game helps students draw chair conformations; teachers will need to add context.

Collisions: Play Chemistry

Game-based challenges build crucial chemistry concepts

Bottom line: Learn about atoms, ions, and bonding through challenge-based gameplay.

HoloLAB Champions

Immerse students in a fantastic VR chemistry lab

Bottom line: Students can safely experiment, play, fail, succeed, and learn in this engrossing virtual chemistry lab.

Get tips for using these tools in the classroom

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