Virtual labs

Ian Francis

CROCODILE-CLIPS. Crocodile Chemistry 1.5. Crocodile Physics 1.5. Crocodile Technology 1.5. pound;190 each + VAT. Free upgrade for existing users of version 1.0 or 1.22 (chemistry), version 1 (technology),pound;95 + VAT to upgrade version 1.0 (physics)

Never really understood science at school myself. We loved making bad smells in chemistry and blowing things up in physics though." This dinner-party small-talk could become rarer as ICT increasingly allows students to "do" practical work at the click of a mouse. Although it can never be as memorable or multi-sensual as the real thing, good simulation software has undeniable benefits when used to supplement rather than supplant lab work.

Crocodile Chemistry provides a virtual laboratory allowing secondary students to experiment with more than 100 chemicals without breaking glassware or setting things on fire. Additions to previous releases include a section on electrochemistry and an interactive periodic table. It is complex, so time spent reading the help files does pay.

This is a resource that will be most useful to more able students, or at least those patient enough not to dive in clicking randomly. There is also the facility for teachers to create "movies", that is, virtual demonstrations.

New with the Physics CD-Rom is Absorb High School Physics, a GCSEStandard grade course using the simulations. Navigation is very intuitive and although the style is unexciting it does the job. The tests that come with the course need tightening up: 1000J is recognised as correct, but not 1000 J or 1kJ. Symbol equations can be neatly rearranged, by clicking on the term you want solving, although not word equations.

"Interactive learning activities" such as multiple choice tests can be created. If you think making lessons into Powerpoint presentations is fun, this could be a draw, but many would find it fiddly.

The Technology CD-Rom covers electricity and electronics, mechanics and programming. The new release allows you to debug and then download your newly written program to certain manufacturers' microcontrollers. Download free demos first at

Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

Ian Francis

Latest stories

New headteachers - here are 9 things you need to know

Headteacher wellbeing and sources of 'streth'

Former headteacher Chris McDermott set out to find out the true causes of leader stress and support – and in doing so coined a whole new term, as he explains here
Chris McDermott 2 Dec 2021
Transdisciplinary learning: how to embed it in your school

Why you need a transdisciplinary curriculum

At the Aspirations Academies, six hours a week are dedicated to applied transdisciplinary learning - but how does it work? And should you apply something similar at your school?
Steve Kenning 2 Dec 2021
Expert governors can now come and help schools and trusts

Why schools and trusts can now hire 'expert governors'

Providing access to expert governors for struggling settings - or those willing to pay £500 a day for their insights - could have a huge benefit across education, claims the National Governance Association
Emily Attwood 2 Dec 2021