An Exploration of Atoms and Molecules!


Introducing Atomic Tiles: an Exploration of Atoms and Molecules, designed by Dr. Seth Bush, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, Cal Poly University, specializing in Chemical Education and developed by Dr. Fred Ventura, Ventura Educational Systems.


Atomic Tiles: Discover and Explore Atoms and Molecules

Atoms are nature's building blocks. Everything is made of atoms. Atomic Tiles is an active learning tool where students explore how atoms come together to form molecules. Using Atomic Tiles students begin to understand the structure of atoms. Students learn that an atom has a dense inner core called the nucleus that contains protons and neutrons. The outer layer of an atom contains the electrons called the electron cloud. Most chemical properties of atoms, including how atoms bond to one another, are the result of the outermost electrons in the 'electron cloud' known as valence electrons.


Atomic Tiles - Water Molecule Demo

Atomic Tiles depict valence electrons as open or closed circles. Open circles are electrons that can be shared to form bonds. Closed circles represent electrons that are not shared.

Targeted Development of Science Concepts in the Following Areas:

Atomic Structure
Neutrons, Protons and Electrons
Valence Electrons
Covalent Bonding
Properties of Elements
The Periodic Table of Elements
Building Molecules
An Interactive Exploration of Molecular Structures

Atomic Tiles has multiple levels in order to provide a structured learning environment.

  Level 1: Introduction: Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen
C, H, O, & N - No Charged Atoms
  Level 2:

Basic Skills - Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Chlorine and Fluorine
C, H, O, N, F & Cl - No Charged Atoms

  Level 3: Expanding Knowledge - Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen Nitrogen, Chlorine, Fluorine, Sulfur, Silicon and Phosphorus
C, H, O, N, Cl, F, S, Si, P - No Charged Atoms
  Level 4: Level 4: Introducing Charged Atoms
Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen Nitrogen, Chlorine, Fluorine, Sulfur, Silicon and Phosphorus
C, H, O, N, Cl, F, S, Si, P - Charged Atoms (O, N)

Atomic Tiles


Exploring and Discovering Covalent Bonding

Atomic Tiles lets students explore covalent bonding using an open-ended, discover approach. Using this app students learn that shared valence electrons count towards filling the valence shell for both atoms participating in the bond.

After using Atomic Tiles students will better understand which elements are likely to form the most bonds and which elements are likely to form the fewest bonds. By interactively placing Atomic Tiles on the screen students build a variety of molecules.



As students work with this educational app they discover that a molecule that has a filled valence shell with 8 electrons is particularly stable. Chemists refer to this phenomenon as the octet rule. The octet rule is used in chemistry labs to predict how certain atoms and molecules will react.

Using a patented learning methodology, Atomic Tiles represents atoms as an octagon. Each octagon is label with the name and atomic number of an atom. In addition open circles are used to show bonding valence electrons and closed circles show non-bonding valence electrons.

Using Atomic Tiles students can develop the following important science concepts within the following topics:

  • Atoms are Building Blocks
  • Molecules are Composed of Atoms
  • Electrons are Paired in Bonding
  • Atoms can Form Single, Double, or Triple Bonds.
  • Certain Atoms are More Likely to Bond than Others.
  • Properties of Elements in the Periodic Table.

We recommend that you open the Instructor's Guide PDF from your iPad in a new browser page and save the document in your iBooks app.

Instructors can request a FREE download code to try Atomic Tiles. Click here to write and send your request.

Atomic Tiles Overview and Key Features
Interactive Periodic Table of Elements
Structure of the Nitrogen Molecule
Carbon-based Molecule
  • Interactive Atomic Tiles for Interaction and Discovery.
  • Supports Common Core Science Objectives
  • Focuses on Learning by Doing Strategies.
  • Problem Solving Activities are Investigated in an Open-ended Learning Environmennt.
  • Atomic Tiles Helps Build Fundamental Science Concepts.
  • On/Off Options and Controls for Various Features.

Atomic Tiles

Atomic Tiles is designed to help develop an understanding of atomic structure and covalent bonding. Using simple gestures students move and place atomic tiles on the lab table. When using the molecular templates to build specific molecules, student interaction is instantly evaluated and feedback is given to help solve the challenge.

Possible Topics:

  • Atomic Structure
  • Covalent Bonding
  • Inorganic and Organic Molecules
  • Properties of Elements
  • Deductive Reasoning
  • Logic and Problem Solving


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Periodic Table of Elements

In addition to the Atomic Tiles the app provides an interactive Period Table of Elements. Tapping an element brings up additional information about the element. The elements are grouped into families and by tapping a family name descriptive information about the family in presented. More in-depth information can be accessed by tapping the lab notebook icon.

  • Display details by tapping the element.
  • Access details about each family of elements
  • Read detailed information about each element and its properties.

Explore and Document

Activities at a variety of skill levels are also provided. Students are encouraged to document their discoveries in a journal and can take snapshots of the molecules that they build and store the images in the iPad's photo library. A comprehensive teacher's guide provides lesson ideas at a variety of levels.

  • Perfect for Small Group instruction
  • Environmentally Friendly Learning - (no need to photocopy activity pages for each student)
  • A Student-Centered Approach to Learning

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Atomic Tiles is Now Available at the Apple iTunes Store.