We often hear about the term simulation program, simulation software or a simulator. What is a simulator and why is it used? A simulator is a computer program that helps in imitating the real-world actions. Teachers do not have the scope all the time to take their students to the lab while discussing experiments related to certain topics. Simulators are an instant solution in this case. They help in doing experiments of Physics, Chemistry, Biology or Earth-sciences, virtually (without doing the actual operations involved) or clearing doubts of a mathematical concept by changing the inputs and observing the corresponding outputs. Simulators are not always about experiments, some of them are attractive games that engage students in a systematic manner.
Let us take an example from Chemistry. After describing an atom and its structure, a teacher may give students an opportunity to interact with the following simulator. It helps students to build atoms and thus clears the concept of atomic number, atomic mass, ionic character of elements, etc,.
Build an atom
If the students are confident about the atomic structure of elements, they may go through the following ‘Atom Builder Challenge’
Here you can see a question, how are elements different from one another?
It describes atomic number and mass number by building atoms of missing elements given in the Periodic table. This site also gives information about the most recent elements discovered like Nihonium, Moscovium, etc. Students can click on the Concepts button available at the top of the window to clear a concept by reading its content and watching related videos.
Isotopes and Average Atomic Mass
After the builder challenge, a teacher may discuss about Isotopes & average Atomic Mass and then let the students go through the following simulators.
Let the students interact with the following simulator to feel the Atomic Interaction.
Some simulation sites for various topics on Chemistry :