Students will have fun constructing simple molecules with this simulation, while also gaining insight into molecular structure and chemical nomenclature. The activity gives learners tasks to build molecules from “kits” of elements. The tasks increase in complexity step-by-step, as students click & drag atoms to make specific molecules to match a molecular formula . Tasks include building diatomic molecules, molecular compounds, and construction of larger molecules without explicit direction. After a molecule is built, it can be viewed in 3D either as a ball-and-stick or a space-filling model. This resource is appropriate for the early phases of a unit on molecular structure.
Teachers: The main library link goes to the HTML simulation itself. To access an excellent set of lesson materials created by a middle school teacher to support this simulation, click on the “For Teachers” tab. Look for the lesson written by Jackie Esler. Her lesson includes pre-test, two post-tests, Student Guide, and lesson plan specifically developed to use with “Build A Molecule”. You must be a registered user on the PhET website to access the add-on materials, but registration is FREE.