Coding in Chemistry

I was scrolling through my Twitter feed the other day and ran across a tweet from Frank Noschese (@fnoschese) about using GlowScript to code in physics. While the meme below is a joke, it really sums up why I love coding.

Coding is hard! It requires serious critical thinking and problem solving skills that students need. If you haven’t checked out the Hour of Code initiative, it is definitely worth looking into.

I am by no means a coding expert which is why I like GlowScript. GlowScript uses the VPython language which is easy for a novice to pick up. You could also code in JavaScript or CoffeeScript but unless you and your students are very code savvy, I would stick with VPython.

GlowScript makes it easy to code 3D objects which is great for building particle models in chemistry. We often represent particles in stationary 2D space but do not often look at particles moving in 3D space.

I started with building a model of gas particles in a closed box. You can check out what I put together here.

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 8.47.19 PM

In class, I would give students the code for the box and have them focus on coding the particles.

Some other programs I would like students to write throughout the year include a 3D density model, an equation balancer, a solution calculator and a stoichiometry calculator, sticking with the Python coding language.

I encourage you to check out Code Academy in your spare time. This site has free online courses for all of your coding needs. I will be working my way through the Python course and then exploring app and website building.

Happy coding!


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