Making Chemistry More Interesting Through Video Games

An attempt to get more students interested in chemistry through video games, in

You are deep underground in a lab that once housed some of the finest minds in chemistry. But robots directed by a crackbrained artificial intelligence have taken it over and plan to use its equipment to destroy the world! After freezing an evil robot with your handy wrist-mounted hot-and-cold gun, you reach the Haber-Bosch room. And now you must correctly synthesize ammonia or die.

“Your students are playing video games,” Gabriela Weaver told a group of chemistry teachers at the American Chemical Society meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, on 29 March. “They are playing them more and more hours a day. They are probably playing them in your class.”

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Weaver, an associate professor of chemistry at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, is building a computer game about the subject – she hopes her prototype will be as appealing to students as the blockbuster games coming out of companies like Electronic Arts (EA).

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