Virtual Chemistry and Simulations
Chemistry moves from the lab and the classroom to the computer, as working in a virtual chemistry laboratory and viewing simulations provide additional ways of learning chemistry.
- PhET Interactive Simulations
PhET, based at the University of Colorado at Boulder, offers over four dozen chemistry-based simulations. Users can search by subject and grade level. Many have been translated into different languages.
- Chemistry Solutions: Featured Simulations
Each issue of Chemistry Solutions, the periodical of the American Association of Chemistry Teachers, contains a simulation. This page collects and describes simulations from past issues.
- MERLOT Simulation Collection
The Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) at the California State University has collected descriptions and links to a huge number of simulations, with peer review ratings and comments, and information on their appropriateness for various levels.
The ChemCollective, organized by a group from Carnegie Mellon, shares virtual labs, simulations, and molecular level visualizations for chemistry.
- Mixed Reception
This ChemCollective activity might be described as a murder mystery for chemistry students. Students can “interview” suspects by viewing videos, investigate the crime scene using images, and analyze evidence from the crime lab.
- CK-12 Chemistry Simulations
Nearly two dozen simulations cover topics like average atomic mass, solubility with rock candy, and freezing point depression with salting icy roads.
- Titration Screen Experiment
Get students ready for a hands-on titration by allowing them to run one virtually first.
- goREACT Virtual Chemistry Lab
This drag-and-drop lab environment from Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry lets you experiment with different reactions.
Users can model and simulate chemical reactions, focusing on thermodynamics, equilibrium, kinetics, and acid–base titrations. It is designed for Advanced Placement high school and undergraduate students and teachers.
- Molecular Workbench
The Molecular Workbench offers simulations in multiple sciences, along with tools for both teachers and students to create their own simulations. Teachers can also create their own curriculum modules with embedded simulations.
- Virtual Chemistry Experiments
Professor David N. Blauch of Davidson College presents several interactive experiment simulations on topics such as equilibrium, kinetics, crystal structure, phase changes, gases, and more.
- General Chemistry Interactive Simulations
This page, maintained by chemistry professor William Vining, has simulations that cover a wide range of chemistry concepts, keyed to chapters in a general chemistry text.
- Electrolyte Solution Simulation
A version of an electrolyte solution simulation from John Wiley and Sons is available at the General Chemistry Online! page. It allows the user to select different cations and anions. Data can be logged and downloaded as an Excel spreadsheet.
- Simulations for Chemistry
Professor Gary L. Bertrand’s (University of Missouri–Rolla) page offers many simulated experiments, such as “The Case of the Five Droppers,” a virtual presentation of five reagents being mixed in different ways to produce various precipitates and gas bubbles, and a coffee cup calorimeter activity.
- Virtual Laboratory: Ideal Gas Law
A virtual lab from the University of Oregon allows one to perform three experiments. The user controls the action of a piston in a pressure chamber filled with an ideal gas, illustrating relationships between temperature, volume, pressure, and molecular weight.
- Whether and How Authentic Contexts Using a Virtual Chemistry Lab Support Learning
Authors report on a study with high school chemistry students using virtual lab investigations, in a 2018 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education.
- Examining VSEPR through the Cross Cutting Concept of Patterns
Teacher Stephanie O’Brien describes her use of the PhET simulation Molecule Shapes as part of a VSEPR activity.
- Chemical Thinking Interactives
Teacher Kaleb Underwood highlights Dr. Vincent Talanquer’s Chemical Thinking Interactives collection of simulations in a ChemEdXChange “Pick.”
- Building Atoms: One App at a Time
Teacher Doug Ragan describes several apps that he uses in a unit on atomic structure.
- Gas Laws—Finally an App for That!
Teacher Doug Ragan describes two apps that he uses to investigate gas properties and the relationship between Boyle’s Law and Charles’ Law.
- The Atomic Dashboard
Teacher Doug Ragan describes The Atomic Dashboard, a commercially available software product that helps students to visualize atoms and molecules and their structures.
- Using an iPad Simulation and an Online Java Applet: Maxwell–Boltzmann Distribution Curves
Teacher Lowell Thomson describes his use of a simulation and an app to introduce Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution curves to his International Baccalaureate Chemistry students.
- Using an Argument-Driven Inquiry Framework for Student Exploration of Gas Laws
Teacher Lowell Thomson describes his use of Atomsmith Classroom Online, a commercially available product, that he uses in a gas laws unit.
- Using PhET in High School Chemistry
Teacher Trish Loeblein describes how she uses PhET in her high school course, with hyperlinks to the activities.
- Bring STEAM to Life with PhET
This post brings together tips and tricks from educators who use PhET in their classrooms.
- Virtual Labs in a Chemistry Classroom
This link contains a review of ChemCollective virtual labs (linked above) and Virtual ChemLab (a commercially available virtual lab product).