Mel Science, creators of interactive science kits for children, have announced the launch of virtual reality chemistry lessons for Google Daydream, which the company says will “transform the way kids learn science”.
The Mel Chemistry VR app, complete with a virtual chemistry lab, allows children to engage with science on a molecular level and even build an atom. Created in line with K-12 curricula, the app can be used at home and in class. “With these first lessons, students will see what it’s like to dive into a pencil or a diamond and discover what it looks like at an atomic level,” the company explains. “They’ll learn about basic chemistry concepts in an interactive, friendly way.” There are plans for a special version of the app to be released for teachers.
“The experience allows kids to view atoms up close, manipulate them, and even build their own atoms,” Mel’s CEO Vassili Philippov explains. “It’s an engaging and interactive alternative to the mundanity of memorising facts, words, and formulas when learning science.”
“VR can be used to simulate a real lab. So instead of using real chemicals, test tubes, and burners, you use virtual ones. However, this is not where VR can bring the most value to science education. Real hands-on experiments are more engaging for kids. Nothing can replace the feeling of doing something yourself. You see science. You touch science. You smell science,” Vassili continues. “Where VR is irreplaceable is in showing kids invisible science, such as placing them inside a chemical reaction, where molecules fly all around them and they see how those molecules interact with each other. We can let kids play with atomic orbitals and encourage them to touch the orbitals, build their own atoms and molecules, and see what happens.”
Mel Science is set to release over 150 lessons spanning schools’ chemistry curricula, with added support for additional VR platforms including Google Cardboard and Samsung GearVR to be rolled out later this year.
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