Elements 4D is a neat Augmented Reality chemistry app for iOS and Android devices which provides a fun way to look at various different chemical reactions.
The app uses blocks that are inscribed with the symbols of 36 elements from the periodic table. The site will eventually sell ready-made cubes, but you can download paper templates for free here.
When viewed through the app, these blocks instantly transform a simple, inanimate object into dynamic, dimensional, 4D representations of each element.
If the correct elements are placed next to each other, they will react and the resultant chemical reaction is displayed on the screen.
A good activity would be to ask the students to make a prediction about whether two blocks will react before touching them together. Or they could look at patterns – which elements never react, and which always react.
The Elements 4D website has some suggested lessons plans that are worth exploring.
As always, this shouldn’t replace carrying out some of these reactions for real in the classroom, but for revision or plenary purposes this would make a good supplementary activity. Obviously this is also good for those combinations that are just too dangerous to explore in the classroom!
It’s another indication that Augmented Reality is getting more sophisticated. I like the fact that it does more than just display an image over a piece of paper, and that you can start to interact several objects and produce something different.
The app is free, and if you don’t mind a little cut and paste you can make the cubes for free as well.
Get more information about Elements 4D here.