CompoundIt! - The Chemistry Formula Word Game
CompoundIt! is an educational word game in which the “letters” are chemical elements and the “words” are compounds.
CompoundIt! is a word game in which the “letters” are chemical elements and the “words” are compounds. The rules of the game strive to balance entertainment and playability, scientific accuracy, and educational value. The target audience includes students, science enthusiasts, nerds, and word game fans interested in learning an entirely new “language”.
Why use worksheets when you can play games?
The "gamification" trend in education is here to stay, but it's rare to find a game that students enjoy, that has real educational value, and that has evidence of efficacy. That game is here! CompoundIt! is shown to increase both engagement and understanding for students learning chemical names and formulas. The need is particularly serious in science; U.S. high school students' achievement in science lags considerably behind their math and English scores.
Created by a chemistry teacher
Learning is inherently fun and rewarding, but let's be honest--sometimes it can use a little help. While many chemistry concepts can be learned through lab work, some (like nomenclature and formulas) require practice by repetition--lots of repetition. This is why I created CompoundIt! I've been using it with my own students for two years, and I want to make it available to everyone else, too.
Easy to learn
Modular rule sets and expansions allow the complexity of the game to be adjusted to accommodate all players from middle school to PhD--no prior chemistry knowledge required. The style of play is familiar to those who have played other crossword-style board games, and the rules for compound formation come from chemistry itself.
An effective teaching tool
Teachers and administrators know that improving student learning demands evidence-based instructional strategies. To test the efficacy of the game in helping students understand chemical formulas, four chemistry classes at a high-poverty urban school took a quiz on chemical formulas, played the game for three days, and then took the quiz again. (The questions on each quiz were randomly selected from the same question pool.) Data was also collected over the same time frame on student achievement for other learning targets. The results were striking:
Student progress on the compound name and formula learning objective (the purple line between the red arrows) improved by more than 16 percentage points, much faster than on other course standards.
What's in the box?
- Quarter fold game board
- 108 element tiles, die cut punchboard
- 4 help sheets (legal move summary and polyatomic ion list)
- Box, matte, laminate
- Rules booklet, color printed
Organic compound expansion:
- Extra carbon and hydrogen tiles
- Single bond and double bond tiles
- Functional group cards
- Rule sheet
Chemical reactions expansion:
- Reaction goal card deck
- Rule sheet
- Additional element tiles
- Rule sheet
Note: The exact mix of tiles in each expansion is still in the works, but we'll have samples ready soon!
"As a teacher myself, [I] recognized the value the game could hold in the classroom, but while playing it, I also realized that it’s simply a fun game to play in any setting. I initially played it with my wife, a scientist, who also found a lot of enjoyment in brushing up on her basic chemistry knowledge...I’ve also shared it with others outside of the education and science fields who have also found something to enjoy. Ultimately, it’s a game with a broad appeal."
-- Joe Praska, twincitiesgeek.com
"There’s not much new here in terms of gameplay, but that’s not the point. The point of CompoundIt! is its educational value and effectiveness as a learning tool. It’s also quite fun for science nerds! I have to admit I had to dust off some areas of my brain to play. My wife, a Pathobiology major, had no problem with a dusty brain. Guess I won’t be playing with her anymore!" -- Rob Kalajian, A Pawn's Perspective
"A great educational tool - ten out of ten" -- Eric Schwartz, The Mighty Meeple
"CompoundIt was a perfect addition to our chemistry learning...It’s an actual jumping off point for deeper learning. I have found, in our journey, when questions stem from real curiosity, from trying to make something work, and especially to win a game, the learning sticks and is so much more fun!" -- Jackie Lee, youreallycanhomeschool.com
"I love to see real science used in a game. I think this game would be a great teaching tool." -- Diane Sauer
"The game looks like it will do a good job of achieving its goal of getting students to think about different ways that elements can be combined into different compounds." -- Chris Zinsli
CompoundIt! premiered to overwhelmingly positive reviews at Protospiel MN 2017. Some of the playtester comments:
- "It's so nice to see an educational game actually done right."
- "Your students are lucky!"
- "If I were a teacher I'd even spend my own money on this."
- "Playing the game made me want to learn more about the chemicals I was making."
Risks and challenges
Delays in the manufacturing and shipping schedule are always a possibility. I will work diligently to get the game in your hands with all deliberate speed, and to inform you immediately of any delays or production issues.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)