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Peer Review

Interactive Simulations for General Chemistry

by William Vining


Overall Numeric Rating:

4.25 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Apr 20, 2010 by Teacher Education
Overview: This material contains simulations on many topics in general chemistry. Topics range from the Periodic Table, ionic compounds, pH scale, and acid-base properties of water (introductory topics) to titration curves, concentration dependence in reactions, buffer solutions, and the ideal gas law (moderately difficult topics) to the Classium-Clapyron equation, molecular fluxionality in molecular bonding theory, and atomic absorption and emission spectra (advance topics). These simulations can be used by students independently or as teacher demonstrations.
Type of Material: Simulation
Recommended Uses: These simulations are a good supplemental teaching and learning tool for a general chemistry class. Can be used for middle level through university.
Technical Requirements: Internet browser: Firefox works best with Macs and Internet Explorer works best with PCs.
Identify Major Learning Goals: • the student will develop a deeper understanding of quantitative and qualitative perspectives on topics in general chemistry • the student will be able to accurately identify introductory, moderately difficult, and advance topics in chemistry • the learner will easily and accurately calculate simple and complex mathematical chemical variables and terms • teachers will be able to incorporate many complex reactions and concepts into their classroom teaching previously prohibited by availability of instrumentation and safety concerns
Target Student Population: middle school, high school and undergraduate students; 5-8th grade teachers of science
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Users of these simulations need to know basic chemistry.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: Very comprehensive survey of general and inorganic chemistry including the periodic table, atomic electron configurations, limiting reactants, titrations and titration curves, the second law of thermodynamics and the nomenclature of alkanes are particularly noteworthy.
Concerns: Students must have some basic knowledge before using this simulator. It cannot be used in a stand-alone fashion for teaching or learning. Reviewers disagreed as to whether the simulations would be appropriate for middle school as suggested. There may be too great an emphasis on physical chemistry. It would be up to the instructor to make that decision.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: This material is very effective for use in demonstrations in the classroom to supplement the text and laboratory experiences It is also an effective review for chemistry majors
Concerns: There are no specific goals identified except that the student can practice. Teachers may not immediately know how to integrate this tool into instruction.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The simulators are very easy to use.
Concerns: if you are not knowledgeable on the specific topic, the directions are not explicit enough

Creative Commons:
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States