NanoSpace Website Keeps Students Excited about Science
Discovering the world of atoms and molecules can be a fun, interactive experience with the free website Nanospace, a site made by the Molecularium team. With games and videos students can be introduced to molecular nature in a, dare I say, exciting way.
The site is set up to be an “interactive theme park” where students can visit the NanoSpace arcades and the Molecular Movie Theater. There are four sections in the Hall of Atoms and Molecules: the H2o Park, Sizes of the Universe, DNA Land, and Material Boulevard. Students can play games like Helix of Fortune and Who Wants to be a Quindecillionaire?
The high quality videos that accompany the games explain ideas like atoms, and water in the universe in a non-annoying cartoon way. Molecularium has had experience with movies creating a feature length 3D film in 2009. Here is one of the videos featured on the site about H2o:
Dr. Richard Siegel, Director of the Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center, and one of the Molecularium Project’s founders says that he is interested in creating online games because he believes in order to promote science literacy “you have to go where the kids are.”
Siegel describes the site as “stealth education,” providing kids entertainment that works to educate at the same time. Students can keep learning to gain points and move up the periodic table, and create their own atom image to personalize their experience.
Here is Siegel introducing the NanoSpace website:
Teachers began to use the site in the classroom rather than use static textbooks to help keep students awake. “I found “NanoSpace – Molecules to the Max” to be both educational and entertaining,” said Laurie Brennan from the Lester School in Downers Grove, Illinois, “It introduced my students to the world of atoms and molecules through kid friendly characters; Oxy, Hydra, and Mel, the Molecularium computer.”
Siegel hopes that through feedback from students and teachers he can expand on the now large site to add more content and games. The site has been gaining speed winning the Center for Digital Education’s 2013 Best of the Web award and the support of the National Science Teachers Association.
The website is so well put together that some adults may even find enjoyment in brushing up on some science concepts with games that let you guess the amount of atoms in objects like a jellybean or ant.
Check out the NanoSpace website and build your own DNA strand or take your best guess at how many atoms are in a jellybean.
Michelle is a current graduate student at Emerson College and an intern at Boston's public radio station. She enjoys exploring the world of educational technology and writing about the ever-changing sector and its potential.