Detroit Country Day School Teacher Develops Organic Chemistry Game for Mobile App
By: Katie Higgins
Now available at the iTunes store, the “Chairs” mobile app educates, entertains
BEVERLY HILLS, MICH., Oct. 24, 2014— The study of organic chemistry does not often bring to mind laughing teens playing games, and yet that is now happening at Detroit Country Day School (DCDS). Upper School chemistry teacher Julia Winter created and developed Chairs!, a mobile app that tackles the complex concepts behind organic chemistry in an entertaining and engaging digital game.
Chairs! is a visual pattern game designed to help students learn the complex subject matter of conformational isomers and cyclohexane chairs. The game is rapidly gaining in popularity with DCDS students, including those who are not taking a chemistry course.
“We are tremendously proud of Julia Winter’s innovative work in developing a widely accessible teaching tool that will impact and educate students from around the world about organic chemistry,” said DCDS Headmaster Glen Shilling. “This achievement speaks not only to Julia’s exceptional drive and creativity, but is also an example of the dedicated work that we have come to expect from our talented faculty members at Detroit Country Day School.”
Part of Winter’s inspiration for the game was to create a clear visual representation to help students understand complex organic chemistry concepts.
“Organic chemistry is a very difficult subject that challenges students to think very abstractly,” Winter said. “The goal with Chairs! is to spark an interest in chemistry with students of all ages, so that chemistry is no longer an intimidating subject. Finding the right balance with the game was very important. We wanted to make a game that teaches a concept but does not feel like homework.”
Because of her development of the mobile game, Winter has been selected to speak at the South by Southwest EDU conference in Austin, TX in March. Her company, OChemPrep, also received support from Michigan’s Business Accelerator Fund. Two alumni contributed to the development of prototypes for the game, Debra Van Egeren ’12 and Aaron Zeng ‘14, both are now students at MIT.
Download Chairs! from the iTunes store. For more information, read Winter’s blog or watch a video outlining the game and its concept. The video was created by DCDS student Cole Wiand, ’16.
To download an photo of Julia Winters in the classroom, click the image below.
Detroit Country Day School offers students from preschool through high school an exemplary education rooted in academic rigor and a commitment to the full development of each student’s potential. The school is an independent, coeducational, non-denominational, college preparatory school nationally recognized for excellence in academics, athletics and the fine and performing arts. Founded in 1914 by F. Alden Shaw, Detroit Country Day School today enrolls more than 1,500 students on four campuses located in Beverly Hills and Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. For additional information, please visit www.dcds.edu.