Interactive Lab Brings Chemistry to (Virtual) Life

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An interactive virtual high school chemistry laboratory is drawing students into the inquiry process at the heart of chemistry and presenting them with interesting, real-life problems to solve.

Studies show that high school students who excel at solving pencil-and-paper chemistry problems from a textbook—and who, therefore, get good grades—often can’t make connections between the long string of chemical notations they create and the actual chemical reaction it represents.

The high school laboratory was developed by The ChemCollective group at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and WestEd’s Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM) program.

New modules developed by CMU and STEM—complete with virtual chemicals, equipment, and tools—use interactive and engaging scenarios to help students make connections between symbolic representations of chemical reactions, molecular models of those reactions, and observable changes in, for example, the color, temperature, or final concentration of chemical compounds. 

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