Categories : Lesson Plan of the Week
Bongo Balance is a chemistry puzzle game for younger students. Combining mathematics, puzzles and a joyful presentation, the game is a great introduction to how elements and compounds are expressed. Starting with fruit and moving on to the actual element symbols, Bongo Balance is very accessible for young students.
Read on for a run-through of one of our lessons for the game, which makes chemistry fun!
Playing the Game
Bongo Balance has the student balance equations with compounds. In practice, this means that the center of the screen has a vertical line, and both the left and the right must have the same number of elements. The trick is that the student can't actually allocate single elements: they must balance everything with compounds. So let's say the left side is missing two carbon (C), and the only compound you have available that has carbon is carbon dioxide (CO2). This means that you add two carbon dioxide molecules to the left side and must then balance the excess oxygen on the right side!
The reason why Bongo Balance is great for younger students is that the compounds are actually depicted as fruit in the early game before eventually being depicted with the actual element symbols. In a very clear and approachable way, chemical equations become decipherable even to younger students.
This comprehensive lesson has students complete all the 30 levels in Bongo Balance and introduces crucial chemistry concepts. These concepts include the basic structure of the atom, molecules and compounds. While atomic structure is a related concept and not truly represented in-game, molecules and compounds are the bread and butter of the puzzles. Students must mix exactly the right molecules to beat each level!
Bongo Balance and Your Classroom
Bongo Balance is a great introduction to chemistry notation for younger students. It is also a very quick activity, with a single playthrough lasting approximately a half an hour. Want to spice up your elementary science class? Bongo Balance will do just that, for a single lesson.
Bongo Balance is available for educators as part of our TeacherGaming Desk subscription. Click here to find out more about the service!