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Best Science Apps: April 01, 2017 (Vol. 37, No. 7)

Chairs!

<p> Some of the difficulty in learning chemistry arises from the need to be able to visualize 3D structures in one’s head (or via 2D representations). For example, many molecules exist in ring structures that constantly transition between different 3D conformations like the “boat conformation” and the “chair conformation.”  The Chairs! app is a simple and fun app designed to help students visualize the conformational transitions of cyclohexane and to practice drawing the positions of specific carbon-hydrogen bonds after such transitions occur. The app includes a brief tutorial on bond positions and the different conformations of cyclohexane. This prefaces the game portion of the app, in which app users must correctly draw carbon-hydrogen bonds following a specific conformational transition. The trials are timed, so one must draw quickly! The graphics are nicely drawn and informative, and overall the app successfully manages to make a mundane task like drawing bond angles entertaining and engaging.</p>