December 1, 2015 (Vol. 35, No. 21)
Strong Points: Structured laboratory exercise, downloadable resources
Weak Points: Slow rendering times
Unlike many other molecule viewing apps where the emphasis is on undirected exploration, the Molecule World DNA Binding Lab app offers a structured exploration of DNA that is designed for upper-level high school and college students. The app is organized as a laboratory exercise, complete with learning objectives, step-by-step instructions, and downloadable resources, including a lab worksheet and glossary. The 3D structures within the app include example models demonstrating major and minor groove binding and individual nucleotides, as well as 40 “unknowns” that students identify as part of the laboratory exercise. Users have the option to change visualization mode (ball and stick versus spacefill, for example), and the molecules can be manipulated with pinch-and-zoom mechanics. Rendering times for the molecules are somewhat slow, but overall the app is a great educational tool.