Simbucket.com is pleased to announce that the HTML5 version of the Chemthink “Atomic Structure” 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. In 1:1 classrooms, this means students won’t need to go to the computers to log in. It should take approximately five minutes less to get students up and running with the tutorial.
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.
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.
Because of the amount of class time I have saved by not requiring a log in, I am strongly considering permanently eliminating the need to log in. The drawback to not requiring students to log in is that teachers will have no ability to track student progress, other than physically observing their students’ screens. If you can’t live without the student tracking feature, please speak up!
From start to finish, the “Atomic Structure” HTML5 port took 12 days to complete. I am hoping that I can maintain this pace for the remaining 9 tutorial/problem sets, plus the “Chemical Reactions” lab simulation. At this rate I should finish everything in about 20 weeks, roughly around the beginning of September.
I’ve begun the process of rewriting Chemthink from scratch. At this point I’m looking at reusing all of the existing animations and texts, but we have an opportunity to make the suite of tutorials, question sets, and virtual labs even better. I can’t promise anything because I have only a finite amount of time to finish the project, but I would like to open things up for input from Chemthink users.
So far, the to-do list includes:
If you could change anything about Chemthink, what would you change?
If you could add any capabilities, what would you add?
A few weeks ago I posted 8 of the original Chemthink Flash tutorials. I am excited to announce that the Chemthink problem sets are now available for these tutorials! The question sets require students to answer a certain number correct before they miss a small number of questions. As a result they are fairly difficult. If students struggle on a problem set, they are encouraged to take a look at the tutorial again.
There is no server backend, so if you want to keep track of which problem sets or tutorials you or your students have completed you will need to take a screenshot of the completion screen.
Tutorials and their corresponding problem sets are now available for the following:
In addition, over the next few days I post two more problem sets without tutorials: “Chemical Reactions” and “Isotopes”. At the moment the tutorials for each of these are nonfunctional, but I will do my best to get both the tutorials and their question sets working as soon as I can.
This week in physical science we needed a basic simulation to show a particle model of the melting and boiling of ice. “Melting and Boiling” is designed to address very basic questions, such as “What is ice?”, “What is water?”, “What is steam?”, and “What happens to water molecules as temperature rises?”
Would you like to see more basic chemistry simulations? If so, comment below, and I will try to get to them when I can!
After over one year on iTunes, Google Play, and online, DC Circuit Builder has proven to be Nerd Island‘s most successful app. It works well in our physics classrooms because it is simple. It doesn’t include a lot of bells and whistles, and doesn’t worry about the fact that in most beginning electronics labs you are working in kilo-Ohms and milli-Amps rather than Ohms and Amps. Students seem to respond to the fact that it is laid out on a grid and that you can draw wires across the screen simply by swiping your finger. However, as with any app, there will always be room for improvement and new features. The most common feature request by far is to add switches to the simulation.
Thanks to our school’s time off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and a little nudging from another teacher, I made the time to add knife switches to the simulation. Under the “Draw” tab, students can now choose between a wire, a knife switch, a resistor, a light bulb, and an inline ammeter. By adding switches, students can now model household lighting circuits as well as more complex systems.
I will push the new version out to iTunes and Google Play when I have time, but for now you can find the new version of DC Circuit Builder right here on SimBucket. If you have previously run the web-based version of DC Circuit Builder, make sure to clear your browser cache so that you can load the most up-to-date version.
Please give it a shot, and let me know what you think!
Chris Bruce, Martin Kulak, Kevin Shane, and David Torpe were featured on Sunday night’s news broadcast on KTUU Anchorage for their work at the ASTE Conference 2015. Check out the news clip on the KTUU website!
Chris Bruce Leadership Summit Intro
High School Science Teacher in Illinois – 8 years
Born and raised in Ketchikan, Kayhi graduate, MIT engineeering graduate, US Navy submarine officer, Navy satellite engineer
I teach at James B. Conant High School: 2400 students/200 staff, Chicago suburb, middle class population, 1:1 iPads for all 13,000 students in the district – Any questions about how to do this well, I would be happy to talk to you!
In late 2011, our technology coordinator asked us if we had any preference for devices for our upcoming 1:1 mobile device program we said we wanted Microsoft Windows devices. He said “tough – you are getting iPads, but it is okay because there is something called HTML5 that someone will soon make all of the tools you need!” Little did we know, that “someone” he meant was us.
I became an Apple iOS developer + Google Play developer + web developer, and have been trying to figure out the best ways to use the devices with my students, without waiting for someone else to build it!
Making learning personal, 2 main projects:
This exists, and we have been using it for the past two years. Questionbank system. The ideas here aren’t new, but the system requires a few things to work:
If any one of these are missing, the system doesn’t work. Our biggest challenge has been with wifi. Initially our district was concerned with the size of the broadband pipe to our school, but we are still fighting the wifi issue 3 years later. Here’s an exercise:
It is so important that we have the technology infrastructure to support innovation in the classroom. From a teacher’s perspective, it is so exciting to see students engage with material in new ways. Thank you
The Simbucket development team has arrived in Anchorage, where they will be featured speakers for the 2015 ASTE Conference “Game On!”. They are looking forward to showing teachers from all over Alaska how to build HTML5 simulations and games using Construct 2. Here is a teaser of a new simulation built entirely on the plane ride from Chicago to Alaska:
Inspired by the work of Professor Bruce Sherwood to create a new, more intuitive way to teach electrical circuits, “Circuit Electron Flow” simulates the flow of electrons through a wire caused by electric fields created by surface charges. Four different situations are presented, in order of increasing complexity:
This simulation deviates from traditional Ohm’s Law-based circuit analysis techniques, and shows students behavior of the individual electrons in a circuit. Students no longer are asked to merely accept that electrons flow along a wire, but rather are asked to show *why* electrons would flow along a wire rather than merely away from the negative end of a battery and toward the positive end of a battery.
The simulation is designed to be simple enough to understand by itself, while the corresponding worksheet walks students through a set of increasingly complex scenarios to build their understanding of the physics behind electron flow in a circuit. For an introduction to the mechanics of electron flow through metal, please see our “Drude Model Conduction” simulation.
Please let us know what you think of “Circuit Electron Flow” in the comments below!