A Last-Minute Port – “Ions” is now available in HTML5

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by May 11, 2018

Great news!  “Ions” has been ported from Flash to HTML5.  The load lightened just enough at the end of the school year to allow me to finish the port of the Ion Formation tutorial.  The new HTML5 version leads students through the formation of positive and negative ions, and should run on any modern browser..

If you have already donated to the site, thank you!  As of the time this writing, we are past the halfway mark of our yearly goal of $2500 to keep the site running.   If you have not donated yet, please consider donating.  www.simbucket.com, ChemThink, and www.quizevolved.com rely on your support to pay for the cost of their web server.

Donate Today!


ChemThink – “The Behavior of Gases” is Here!

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by February 28, 2018

Great news!  “The Behavior of Gases” has been ported from Flash to HTML5.  This ChemThink tutorial took a lot of time to make, and it looks great!  All of the original controls are here, and the question set is as challenging as ever.  Students will adjust temperature, number of atoms, pressure, and volume to see how this affects the frequency and force of the collisions with the walls of the container.

If you have already donated to the site, thank you!  As of the time this writing, we are nearly halfway to meeting our yearly goal of $2500 to keep the site running.   If you have not donated yet, please consider donating.  www.simbucket.com, ChemThink, and www.quizevolved.com rely on your support to pay for the cost of their web server.

Donate Today!


2018 Donation Drive for SimBucket, ChemThink, and QuizEvolved

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by February 13, 2018

Dear www.simbucket.com and www.quizevolved.com users,

Last week I received an invoice from our web hosting company with a huge price increase for our servers. Up until this year, I have been able to pay for both sites with help from a few users, but with the price increase I can no longer afford the expense.

In order to ensure the financial stability of www.simbucket.com and www.quizevolved.com, we are planning an annual donation drive. So far, we have collected the following donations for 2018:

$1,700 of $2,500 raised

Donate Today!

In addition to the donation drive:

1. I have consolidated all of our web services down to just two: a cloud-based VPS provider and Amazon Web Services. We now have a single, modern, powerful VPS that can easily handle all of the load for several hundred dollars cheaper per year than before.

2. At the end of 2018, I will review our income and expenses to make sure the websites are still financially viable.

Please donate today! If you are willing to donate for SimBucket, ChemThink, or QuizEvolved, please click here to continue to the donation form. With your help, I hope we can keep these sites free forever.

Sincerely,
Chris Bruce
Physics Teacher, NBCT
Lead Developer,
www.simbucket.com
www.quizevolved.com
www.nerdislandstudios.com


New Video Motion Analysis – “Battery Cannon”

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by October 12, 2017

The last few days have been rainy in Chicagoland, so we took advantage of the bad weather by launching our indoor air cannon. We have lovingly blasted all of our Nerf darts into oblivion, so yesterday we decided to launch a AA battery instead. We started small, using an 8-foot section of 1/2 inch PVC pipe as a blowgun. Using nothing more than lung power, we were able to launch the 24 gram battery at 22 meters per second. Although this is impressive, we figured that we could push the limits a little and hook up our pressurized air launcher to the PVC pipe. With the air launcher we were able to launch the battery at significantly higher speeds. We launched the “battery cannon” three times. Each time, the battery was safely “caught” by a box mounted to low-friction rails.

As always, we captured the motion of the battery and the box using the Edgertronic high speed camera. Our first shot was captured at 200 frames per second, but we realized that we would need to go to 1000 frames per second for higher launch speeds. The result is a series of videos that students can use to verify the Law of Conservation of Momentum.

Please note that our experimental setup wasn’t perfect, and the battery did ricochet off of the inside of the box, introducing a small but measurable increase in the speed of the box after the collision. This is a perfect opportunity to discuss imperfectly inelastic collisions.

We hope you enjoy the new videos, and please let us know if you are using them in your classroom.

Also, chemistry and biology teachers, we have found that the camera also works great for fast-moving explosions and insects. Please let us know if there is a potentially interesting phenomenon that you would like to see filmed in slow motion!


ChemThink – Two New HTML5 Tutorials and Guest Mode

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by June 16, 2017

Covalent Bonding and Molecular Shapes For HTML5 Now Available!

The first piece of news may not be news to you at all! If you have particularly sharp eyes, you might have noticed that both “Molecular Shapes” and “Covalent Bonding” are now available in the HTML5 ChemThink web app. Although they should be fully functional at this point, we are still doing some tweaking and testing to make sure they are ready for students before the start of the coming school year.  Please let us know if you see any problems!

A Tetrahedral Molecule in 3D – From the new Molecular Shapes Tutorial

The Molecular Shapes tutorial has undergone a major overhaul since it was original created 15 years ago. The new version of the tutorial starts by visualizing the 3D location of each electron pair in a Lewis Dot diagram, then uses those locations to show “areas of electron concentration” in 3D (shown in dark yellow on the image above), and finally shows students the 3D space-filing model of each molecule.  With new 3D visualization and physics-based animations, students should be able to much more easily understand how and why molecules assume certain shapes.

With the inclusion of “Covalent Bonding” and “Molecular Shapes”, five of the original eleven ChemThink tutorials are now available on the ChemThink web app:

ChemThink server and database ✓ Done
Atomic Structure tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✓ Done
The Particulate Nature of Matter tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✓ Done
Ions tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Ionic Formulas tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Ionic Bonding tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✓ Done
Covalent Bonding tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✓ Done
Molecular Shapes tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✓ Done
Gas Laws tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Isotopes tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Chemical Reactions tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Precipitates Lab Simulation HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity

“Guest Mode” Coming Soon – No Student Login Required!

The second piece of news is that this summer we will create “guest mode” for ChemThink.  I’m sure many of you have been frustrated when students forget their password and can’t log into ChemThink.  In many cases, students lose a good chunk of the period trying to login and navigate the system.  This is valuable time they could otherwise spend thinking about how atoms bond to each other or why molecules are formed in different shapes.  In order to reduce the amount of mental friction in the classroom, we are creating “guest mode”.  Guest mode should get students into the appropriate tutorial or question set immediately — no student login required!

Guest mode is still evolving as a concept, but we should have a basic version of it up and running in the next week or two, and it should be completely ready to go by the beginning of August.  We will put out an announcement when it is ready.

Please Consider Supporting ChemThink with a Donation

ChemThink still needs your support!  Please consider donating to help defray server costs.  To donate, click on the paypal button below, or send an email to developers@nerdislandstudios.com:


“Superimposer” HTML5 simulation is available now!

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by March 17, 2017

After a long hiatus working on other projects, we are back with our first new simulation of the year: “Superimposer”

In this simulation, you are presented with two waves of slightly different frequency. You use your finger or a mouse to reveal the resultant wave, and are presented with a series of questions in the app that require you to look around and find spots of constructive and destructive interference.


ChemThink Ionic Bonding is Up and Running for HTML5!

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by November 5, 2016

Ionic Bonding

We are pleased to announce that “Ionic Bonding” has been ported over to HTML5 and should now work on phones, iPads, and Chromebooks, as well as traditional computers. The new version is the first to include a new 3D modeling system, complete with physics. The traditional Flash-based version was animated by hand. The new version uses Coulomb’s Law (opposite charges attract, like charges repel) to animate the particles in a much more realistic way. Watch as 12 ions spontaneously self-assemble into a crystal!

The new version of ChemThink Ionic Bonding is available here.

In addition, be sure to check out the worksheet graciously provided by Rebecca Carlock at Centennial High School.


The ChemThink Server Is Working Again!

Category : Uncategorized · (2) Comments · by August 10, 2016

chemthinklogolarge

ChemThink Server Status

Great news for ChemThink users – the ChemThink server is up and running! It took a lot of long nights over the summer, and a complete rewrite of all of the software, but it is finally working again. The server is only available for the two new HTML5 tutorials – the old Flash-based tutorials are incompatible with the new technology. We will work on porting over the remaining tutorials as time permits.

To access the new server-based tutorials, go to either of the following:

Atomic Structure Tutorial

Particulate Nature of Matter Tutorial

You will have the option to create either a teacher account or a student account.  We recommend that every teacher create a mock student account to see the new system from their students’ perspective.

You should have the following capabilities:

As a student:
  1. create an account
  2. log in / log out
  3. reset a forgotten password
  4. do tutorials and question sets (just “Atomic Structure” and “The Particulate Nature of Matter” so far)
  5. see when assignments are due
  6. modify your own student information and join a class – It is also possible to create a student account that is not part of a class, and then join later.
As a teacher:
  1. create an account
  2. log in / log out
  3. reset a forgotten password
  4. create a class
  5. manage the students in a class, including resetting their password
  6. modify your own teacher account information
  7. set due dates for assignments***
  8. track student progress on assignments

A big thank-you to all of the teachers who have donated money for the new server, shared their ChemThink worksheets, helped with testing, and provided moral support and encouragement along the way.

STATUS OF THE CHEMTHINK HTML5 PORT

 

Item Status
ChemThink server and database ✓ Done
Atomic Structure tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✓ Done
The Particulate Nature of Matter tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✓ Done
Ions tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Ionic Formulas tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Ionic Bonding tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Covalent Bonding tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Molecular Shapes tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Gas Laws tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Isotopes tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Chemical Reactions tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Precipitates Lab Simulation HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity

 

ChemThink needs your support!  Please consider donating to help defray the costs of the new server and the HTML5 ports.  To donate, click on the paypal button below, or send an email to developers@nerdislandstudios.com:

 

 


Teachers needed to test ChemThink

Category : Uncategorized · (3) Comments · by June 3, 2016

Calling all teachers to test ChemThink!

This summer we will be making a big push to get the ChemThink backend working. The plans include:

1. student login and progress tracking
2. teacher login and class management
3. user account management
4. anything else necessary to support #1-3 above

Because this is a complete rewrite of the entire system, we have an opportunity to streamline the user login, account creation, and account management process.  The new system should be intuitive and easy for students and teachers to use.  This also means that there will be plenty of bugs to squash along the way, and we will need to develop worksheets/videos to show students how to use the new system.

In order to make sure the system is working as flawlessly as possible before students arrive next school year, we will need a few teachers who will be willing to test ChemThink over the summer by creating teacher accounts and mock classes. I anticipate that the basic functionality will be up and running by mid-July. If you are willing to test things out in late July/early August, please let us know by sending an email to developers@nerdislandstudios.com.

Just to whet your appetite, here are some preliminary screenshots:

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 5.58.29 AM

The user login screen – Students and teachers will be greeted by the same login prompt.

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 6.03.57 AM

The “Create an Account” screen – Students can sign up individually (as shown here), or as part of a class, where they will enter a six-digit class code provided by their teacher.

Thank you to everyone for the words of support.  Getting everything running again is a huge effort, and it is great to hear from everyone who is using Chemthink!

Please leave your questions or comments below, and if you are interested in helping with testing this summer, please email us at developers@nerdislandstudios.com.

Thanks!

-Chris and the Nerd Island Studios Development Team


HTML5 Chemthink “The Particulate Nature of Matter” is online!

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by April 26, 2016

HTML5 PARTICULATE NATURE OF MATTER

Simbucket.com is pleased to announce that the HTML5 version of the Chemthink “Particulate Nature of Matter” tutorial and problem set is now online.  Because the new version is designed from the ground up for HTML5, it means that students with iPads, iPod Touches, or phones can now run the tutorial in a browser without needing an actual computer.

Click the magnifying glass to go to the HTML5 version of “Particulate Nature of Matter”

NOTES FOR TEACHERS:

In creating the HTML5 version, I tried to stay as faithful as possible to the original Flash version, only adding or making changes where it made sense.  For teachers, this means any worksheets or activities you created based on the original should still work with the HTML5 version.  There are some minor tweaks to the text at the end of the tutorial that I made to improve clarity and readability.  In addition, I removed all of the spaces that existed between the coefficients and the formulae.

When a student clicks to launch the app, they are presented with a choice between the tutorial and the problem set.  In practice, I have found that it is easiest to tell my students to open up and run the tutorial in one browser tab while running the problem set in another.  If a student misses a question, I tell them to find the answer in the tutorial before clicking the “continue” button.

Because there is no student login required, students are able to get started very quickly.  This also means that students will need to show you when they are finished with the problem set.  I have included a large gold star on the completion screen so that you can very quickly glance at a student’s screen to see that they are finished.  For students completing the problem sets at home, I have asked that they take a “selfie” with their completion screen.

Due to the overwhelming support in favor of student tracking, I do plan to reintroduce student logins and a class tracking page for teachers.  I am planning to start work on this as soon as I can, but probably no sooner than this summer.


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