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How to Create Molecules on a Tablet (iPad…)
Dominique Lambert
Experiential learning
Fundamental Chemistry, Life Chemistry
Lower Secondary School, Upper Secondary School
This little application (freeware) allows the teacher or student to create a molecule structure (oxygen, carbon atom…) in the “draw” section and with the “built” section to automatically complete the molecule with its hydrogen atoms and obtain a repartition in 3D of the molecule. The “Render” section offers various renderings of the molecule in the form of sticks, spheres… In the “rotate” section, it is possible to rotate the molecule in order to observe it from different perspectives.
With this application, it is possible to create molecules with simple, double or triple bonds. The application is mainly dedicated to organic molecules.
It is possible to make a screen capture of the molecule and include it in a text or email it to someone. This free application is easy to use and allows the student to “see” the molecules in three dimensions. For the teacher, it is not always easy to show the molecules, to explain the interactions between several groups.
• The prerequisites: to know how to use a tablet
• The contents: application
• The aims: to create molecules and make them evolve in 3D
• Task Description
• How to use it in class: demonstration in the classroom by the teacher. On the students’ devices, the teacher asks to create certain molecules, or he gives a tablet to a student asking him to represent the molecule he says the name or the empirical formula of. In this case the teacher can view the iPad (iPod touch/iPhone) screen WIFI connection and an Apple TV linked to a beamer.
• It is also possible for the teacher to provide the students with a series of molecules (on a tablet). The students have to find the empirical or semi-structural formula.


Cette petite application (freeware) permet au professeur ou à l’étudiant de créer une structure de molécule (atome de carbone, oxygène,…) dans la partie « draw » et avec la partie « built » de compléter automatiquement la molécule avec ses atomes d’hydrogène et d’obtenir une répartiton en 3D de la molécule. La partie « Render » permet d’obtenir différent rendus de la molécule en forme de bâtonnets, sphères, …. La partie « rotate » permet de faire tourner la molécule afin de l’observer sous différentes vue.
L’application permet de réaliser des molécules avec simples, doubles ou triples liaisons. L’application est surtout destinée aux molécules organiques.
Il est possible de faire une copie d’écran de la molécule et puis de l’inclure dans un document texte, ou de l’expédier par mail à un destinataire. Cette application gratuite et facile à utiliser permet à l’étudiant de « voir » en trois dimensions les molécules. Pour le professeur, il n’est pas toujours aisé de montrer les molécules, d’expliquer les interactions entre différents groupements.
• Prérequis savoir utiliser une tablette
• Contenus : application
• Objectifs : créer des molécules et le faire évoluer en 3D
• Description des tâches
• Comment l’utiliser en classe : en démonstration en classe par le professeur. Sur les appareils des élèves, le professeur demande de réaliser certaines molécules. Ou alors avec une tablette que le professeur passe à un élève en lui demandant de représenter une molécule dont il donne le nom ou la formule brute. Dans ce cas, le professeur peut visualiser l’écran de l’iPad (iPod touch/iPhone) avec une connexion WIFI et un appleTV raccordé sur un beamer.
• Il est également possible que le professeur fournisse une série de molécules aux élèves (sur leur tablette) et que ceux-ci doivent trouver la formule brute des molécules et la formule semi-développée.
• Une autre approche : le professeur donne une formule brute et il demand aux élèves de concevoir des molécules qui respectent la formule brute. Il peut également demander de donner les groupements chimiques créés dans la molécule de chaque étudiant. Si le professeur dispose d’un beamer et d’un boîtier « appleTV », il peut demander à l’élève de visualiser l’écran de sa tablette sur le beamer afin d’en faire profiter l’ensemble de la classe pour des commentaires.
• Points of strength: user-friendly, easy to use. Freeware
• Points of weakness: works on iPad, iPhone …. (Apple)
• Scientific reliability: very good, although it is not possible to make cis isomers, trans isomers (more stable) are obtained automatically.
• Pedagogic value: very stimulating for students, especially the view in 3D.

• les points forts : convivial, facile à utiliser. Freeware
• les points faibles : fonctionne sur ipad, iphone… (Apple)
• la rigueur scientifique : TB, meme si il n’est pas possible de faire des isomères CIS, automatiquement on obtient des TRANS (plus stables)
• la valeur pédagogique : super motivant pour les élèves et surtout la vue en trois dimensions.
Dominique Lambert - Inforef

Comments about this Publication

Your comments are welcome

Date: 2014.07.29

Posted by Mónica Oliveira (Portugal)

Message: This iPad/iPhone app (I have used the free version for iPad only) is a basic yet useful tool to digitally create and display molecular structures, which helps visualising the three-dimensionality of the molecules with its bonds, angles and rotation. It has a simple interface with a very limited number of options in the free version (e.g. add atoms, bonds, rotate and translate).
It can be used by students to understand the difference between configurations and by teachers for demonstration in introductory activities in chemical nomenclature classes – together with physical models or even on its own. Some teachers will also find useful to know that there are different software versions available for other platforms (at a cost).

Date: 2014.03.16

Posted by Carla Morais (Portugal)

Message: Generally, it is consensual the need to prepare students for the future that will require good knowledge and scientific and technological understanding. Emerging technologies, the second generation of the Web - Web 2.0 - free tools and \"user friendly\", can establish an important ally in the construction and dissemination of science, in general, and chemistry in particular. The students, who grew wrapped in multiple technological resources from childhood, are not limited to passively find information but rather to produce it and play it, thus building knowledge and changing ways of living, working and thinking. So, it seems to be an advantage in students to participate in projects for development of digital educational resources.
The \"How to Create Molecules on a Tablet (iPad ... )\" seems to me an useful teaching resource and I think it can help students to understand better and faster some organic chemistry topics, because this application allows students and teachers to create organic molecule structure - with simple , double or triple bonds - and see it in three dimension. It is possible create molecules in the form of sticks, sphere, rotate the molecule in order to observe it from different perspectives.
The application can promote students-centered learning and autonomous learning.

Date: 2013.07.17

Posted by KATIUSHA STANCHEVA (Bulgaria)

Message: Today more and more people, especially student, are pace with technology so it is good idea to deploy and use some mobile applications in education. This could make work – specifically work in Chemistry well illustrative and understandable, because of the three dimensions view and ability to rotate the molecules. Mobile HyperChem allows to draw and create molecules by yourself and manipulate them on the mobile device. For all Science one of the most important thing is to understand the nature of the thing and the easiest way is if you can visualize it. This application can help in making projects, because you can include screen capture of the molecule and include it in the text, so in that way we can raise student’s social skills if we make them work in groups on some projects. It could facilitate the work of teachers too - in point of demonstrations and examinations.
The temp with which technology develops, we should make efforts to implement achieved in favor of institutions – and school such as one of the institutions. Almost every student know how to use tablet (or at least can work with touchscreen device), so the ability for work with that kind of technology does not require special skills. Point of weakness is that for the time being this application is developed by Apple and works just on iPad and iPhone, but if it has a success it could cover a wide range of companies in future

National Reports on successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry The national reports on chemistry successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry are now available on the related section of the project portal. The reports presents examples of successful experiences in the partner countries and the results of testing of ICT resources with science teachers.