Collisions Ions: Teaching Strategies to use in Your Classroom

Collisions Ions: Teaching Strategies to use in Your Classroom

Have you been using the Collisions: Ions game with your students? Below are some additional strategies to help with planning your lessons.


Before starting the game, ensure that students know the meaning of the following terms: atom, proton, electron, ion

As students play, introduce the terms valence electrons, cation, anion, octet rule


Illustrate the octet rule for cations by pointing out how the removal of one or more electrons uncovers a full shell underneath, which then becomes the valence shell.

Note the number of valence electrons and energy levels within each sodium atom.


Draw students’ attention to the location of like-charged ions in the periodic table; ask students to predict ion charges based on element groups.


Explain the electrostatic force between protons and electrons that drives effective nuclear charge (Zeff), and how it affects the ionization energy. Post these short TikTok videos for your students to watch!

After playing Level 5, have your students describe the ionization energy trend that is represented down a group, and explain why this happens.

After playing Level 15, have your students describe the ionization energy trend that is represented across a period, and explain why this happens.


Have your students identify ionization energy trends, and draw the trends as big arrows across each period and down each group on a blank periodic table.


Challenge your students to master the Ions Sandbox Achievements:

  • Cation and anion formation
  • Specific ion charges
  • Ionization energy trends
  • Electron affinity trends
  • Ionic radii
  • Or, make up your own challenges and have students submit a screenshot of their work!

    The Ions game shares Connected Levels with Atoms and Ionic Bonding. Have your students complete both the Ions and Atoms games, or Ions and Ionic Bonding, to open up the pipe between these games and CONNECT their learning!

Collisions Atoms: Teaching Strategies to use in Your Classroom

Are you using the Atoms Game with your students? Below are some suggested teaching strategies to help you plan your lessons.

 

Explain the electrostatic force between protons and electrons that drives effective nuclear charge (Zeff), and how it affects the atomic radius. Post these short TikTok videos for your students to watch!

After playing Level 9, ask your students to describe the atomic radii trend that is represented down a group, and explain why this happens.

After playing Level 11, ask your students to describe the atomic radii trend that is represented across a period, and explain why this happens.


Have your students identify atomic radii trends, and draw the trends as big arrows across each period and down each group on a blank periodic table.


Challenge your students to master the Atoms Sandbox Achievements:

  • Atoms with certain numbers of protons
  • Atoms of increasing size between two noble gases (SUPER CHALLENGE for advanced students)
  • Atoms with low/medium/high electronegativity
  • Atoms with a certain number of valence electrons
  • Or, make up your own challenges and have students submit a screenshot of their work!

The Atoms game shares Connected Levels with Ions, IMFs, and Covalent Bonding. Have your students complete all levels of Atoms, and any one of the other three games to open up the pipe between these games and CONNECT their learning!

Collisions and Clever Classroom Integration Guide

Collisions and Clever Classroom Integration Guide

Collisions: Getting Started with Clever
Integrating Collisions with Clever offers you and your students the opportunity to sign into Collisions using the “Log In With Clever” button – no account setup or class codes needed!

Guide Overview
This guide offers an overview of:

  • How to sign up with Clever (or connect your existing Collisions account) through the Clever Library
  • How to create a new teacher account using Sign Up With Clever
  • How to import rosters using Clever
    • If you do not have classes set up within Collisions
    • If you do already have classes set up within Collisions (with or without students)
  • How to remove a student’s Clever connection

Click here to download full PDF guide

Collisions and Google Classroom Integration Guide

Collisions and Google Classroom Integration Guide

Collisions: Getting Started with Google

Integrating Collisions with a Google Classroom-enabled domain offers you and your students the opportunity to sign into Collisions using the “Log In With Google” button – no account setup or class codes needed!

Guide Overview

This guide offers an overview of:

  • How to create a NEW teacher account using Sign Up With Google
  • How to import rosters from Google Classroom
    • If you do not have classes set up within Collisions
    • If you do already have classes set up within Collisions (with or without students)
  • Already have a Collisions account? Learn how to connect your existing account to a Google account
  • How to remove a student’s Google account connection

Click here to download the full guide (PDF)

Using Collisions in Class and for Assessment

Collisions has been one of the best tools for teaching introductory chemistry topics that I have come across in a while.  It helps students to visualize and manipulate the structure and behavior of atoms, ions, and molecules.  With the move to remote and hybrid learning, I have been using Collisions more this year than I have in past years.

During Class

For my lectures, I often use an app called Explain Everything, which allows me to embed websites and education apps into classroom discussions. As I begin describing a new topic covered by Collisions, I open the corresponding level to demonstrate exactly what I am talking about.  Orbital filling is a great example of this; the Collisions game will not unlock the 3d sublevel until the 4s sublevel is full.  Once unlocked, students can see that 3d sublevels cannot contain valence electrons.

Student playing Collisions Atoms Game

Collisions is packed full of these types of learning opportunities.  We work through the core levels, and I can assign the rest of the levels as homework, along with the worksheets and student quests provided by Collisions.  

 

Assessment

Collisions provides a formative assessment worksheet for each of the eight Collisions games, called “Check for Understanding.” I have used the provided formative assessment worksheets as both openers and exit tickets. In addition, at the end of each sub-unit, I assign the Sandbox Achievements to assess learning comprehension. This virtually eliminates students’ ability to cheat, while allowing them to demonstrate mastery of content.

Students at computer lab in chemistry class

This year, I used the Collisions Connected Levels as my semester final exam. My students were elated when I announced that Collisions would be used for their final. They were actually excited to take a final?!?! I assigned each Connected Level a point value, with the most challenging being worth the most points. They were given two class sessions to complete the levels and were informed that they could not do any of the levels outside of the class. 

Collisions has been an extremely helpful and engaging tool for instruction, homework, and learning assessment! 

Student on Laptop at home

 

4 Tips to Implement Game-Based Learning

By: PlayMada Games

The benefits of incorporating games into our classrooms and into our lessons are clear. Games are a great way to engage students, they allow students to progress at their own pace, and they allow students to work and learn independently.Learn Key on Keyboard

But that does not mean incorporating games into the classroom is easy. So here are four tips for successfully implementing games into your lessons:

 

 

1. Play the game before your students play.

This is likely the most obvious of the tips, but it’s also one of the most common mistakes teachers make when incorporating a digital game into a lesson. But what may be less obvious is to play the game like you are a student, not like a teacher that knows the content extremely well already.

Teacher Playing Collision

A game like Collisions: Play Chemistry was designed to allow students to freely explore and make discoveries on their own. The Ions game, for example, allows the player to attempt to remove any electron from an atom, not just valence electrons. As chemistry teachers, it’s second nature to immediately begin by removing valence electrons to form a cation. For many of our students, that’s certainly not a given. Playing the game beforehand, allows you to familiarize yourself with what happens in the game when a student tries to remove an inner electron and other moments of discovery that will invariably happen throughout gameplay.

 

2. Prepare questions to ask your students during and after playing the game.

As a student, whenever my teacher gave me a reading assignment there were always questions for me to answer along with the reading. I usually read these questions beforehand to focus myself. As teachers planning to incorporate a digital game into our lessons, consider crafting two sets of questions for students: one set of questions to verbally ask individual students as they play and another set of questions for all students to answer after gameplay.

Questions during gameplay should point out a particular concept encountered during gameplay. For example, in the Covalent Bonding game inStudent with hand raisedCollisions, students can create polar bonds and see the shared electrons shift. Stop and ask that student, “Why do you think those shared electrons moved closer to the fluorine atom than the hydrogen atom?”.  Have a handful of these questions ready to use as you walk around the classroom during gameplay.

Post-gameplay questions should be designed to check for understanding and relate specifically to the learning objectives for the lesson. For example, “How does electronegativity (red glow in the Covalent Bonding game) affect the location of the shared electrons in a covalent bond?” is a great question to assess students understanding of bond polarity. For more sample questions, visit the Teacher Resources section of our website and download the Teacher Quick Start Guides.

 

3. Regularly reference the game in subsequent lessons.

In the days and weeks after playing the game, keep referencing aspects of the game. Phrases like, “Remember when you saw the shared electrons shift…” help students draw connections between the concepts being discussed and the visuals in the game. Using an LCD projector and the Sandbox in Collisions, you can also quickly show a particular visual or interaction in the game to highlight one specific concept. As you make more references to the game, students become less likely to view games in your classroom as time fillers.

 

4. Know the technology requirements and test the game before class.

While there’s no way to completely eliminate unforeseen technology problems, the more you know ahead of time, the better. 

Student and teacher looking at laptopTest the game at school on the same devices students will be using. It’s also a good idea to try the game during school hours to see how it performs during peak internet usage times. If you are using tablets, check that you are able to install the game without the assistance of an IT person (the web version of Collisions runs through any browser and does not require any installation).

Some schools and districts filter access to certain websites. Testing the game on the school’s network will ensure your students are not blocked by filters during your lesson. (If you are blocked, we can provide your IT person with a whitelist to change that!)