A resource to help chemistry pupils learn facts in an engaging way

Gridlocks

Gridlocks is an online game-cum-learning resource designed to help chemistry pupils learn facts in an engaging way. 

Divided into three sections, Key Stage 3, GCSE and A-level, the basic premise of the game is similar to Sudoku. The contents of square portions of the game board, plus the horizontal and vertical rows, must 'add up' to the same value. The twist is that in Gridlocks it is chemical concepts, rather than numbers, that must 'add up'.

The resource was developed by the Royal Society of Chemistry, and for me it seemed to work most effectively for topics (like 'naming functional groups' and 'hazard symbols') where facts have to be learned by rote. For example, the puzzle on blast furnaces centred on conditions and materials needed to smelt iron – concepts that have to be remembered by making mental connections, rather than worked out.

The competitive element of the games is nice too – pupils compete against the clock and have only three lives before they are knocked out. And the grids get progressively harder. There's also a hint button, for when the grids get too confusing.

Gridlocks makes an excellent summing-up activity in which students can check their own understanding of a topic. It also fosters important problem solving skills; logical reasoning and data surveillance techniques.

The teachers' area of the site has tips for deployment, plus a list of printable puzzles.

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