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A Molecular Simulation App to Change the Way Students Learn About Atoms

General Overview: An
interdisciplinary team from
University of Wisconsin-Madison, comprised of game
developers, researchers and
outreach educators, has collaborated
to develop AtomTouch,
an interactive touch screen
application (app) designed to give users a deeper understanding of atomic
structure. The simulation enables users to
build atomic models under various physical conditions. The computer
simulation built into the app ensures
that the atoms behave according
to the laws of physics. Learning objectives include exploring: how atoms move
at various temperatures and pressures, the atomic difference between a solid
and a gas, and how atoms
bond to one another. Field testing and evaluation of AtomTouch
are leading to improvements in the app and the curriculum. Future plans are to
expand the capabilities of AtomTouch to incorporate modules covering
a wide range of materials science challenges.