The chemistry lab was the location of some of my most memorable moments in high school. Many of the lessons I learned then can now be experienced virtually on a laptop or iPad. Take a look at these options for exploring chemical reactions virtually.
The Molecular Workbench is an excellent site produced by the Concord Consortium with funding from the National Science Foundation. On the Molecular Workbench you can find dozens of interactive models, simulations, and lessons in biology, chemistry, and physics. Each of the lessons walk students through a concept or series of concepts using a set of models and simulations. For example, the Cellular Respiration activity is actually a series of nine lessons using simulations of the process. In addition to the pre-made models, simulations, and lessons users can create their own using the tools provided by the Molecular Workbench.
Chem Collective is a project designed and maintained by Carnegie Mellon University's chemistry department and the National Science Digital Library. On Chem Collective you will find virtual labs for chemistry experiments, simulations, visualizations, tutorials, and auto-graded problems. Students and teachers can search the site by resource type or by chemistry topic.
goREACT is a free iPad and Android app from the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. This free iPad app allows students to virtually create chemical reactions. To create the reactions students simply drag elements from the periodic table to the “reaction area.” The app features suggested reactions to help students get started. In all there are nearly 300 chemical reactions supported on the app. The app includes pictures and videos related to the reactions that students can virtually create on goREACT.
Elements 4D is an augmented reality app through which students can create virtual reactions. Elements 4D provides templates for cutting and folding paper cubes. Each cube represents elements from the Periodic Table of Elements. Students scan the cubes with their iPads or Android tablets to learn more about the elements they represent. Put two cubes together and scan them to see how the elements interact with each other. Elements 4D now offers a collection of lesson plans that utilize the augmented reality app in elementary school, middle school, and high school. Elements 4D is available for iPad and Android.