Kristy reviews a chemistry card game that's educational and fun

Molecules screen shot close up

Molecules – a chemistry card game
Daniel Dulek
Elementally Fun Games
2015 | Card game | $22.95

Molecules is a card game for 2–4 players ages 12 and over. Randomly drawn molecule cards give players target compounds such as carbon dioxide, nitric acid and water. Chemists then pick up atom cards in turn and gain points by using them to build the target molecules. The aim is to be the chemist at the end of the game with the most molecule points. It takes 30–40 minutes to play.

As well as being fun, the idea is that players learn about chemical nomenclature, valency, the octet rule, chemical stability, types of bonding and molecular geometry.

The game was designed by Daniel Dulek, a chemistry teacher from Illinois, US. Daniel says ‘I love to play games and I think that playing games is important for students. As high school teachers, we become preoccupied with standards, focusing on curriculum and preparing for standardised tests that we forget that learning should be fun!’

The aims of this card game are excellent and it could be a fun way to revisit some concepts like valencies and organic functional groups. However, my AS-level students and I found it very complicated. The instructions suggest that video tutorials and other supporting information are available on the website, but we couldn't get these to load.

I'm not sure it would be worth carving time out of a teaching sequence to spend on this activity. But it would be ideal for a science club, especially for students who may be used to playing card trading games. In reality it would be very difficult for students below Key Stage 4 to access the chemistry concepts it involves. However, a science club could really get into this game and be quite competitive.

Purchase Molecules from Elementally Fun Games