At a Glance


  • Chemistry

Instructional Level

  • College & CEGEP



Tasks in Workflow

Social Plane(s)

  • Group

Type of Tasks

  • Analyzing
  • Debating
  • Writing
  • Reading

Technical Details

Useful Technologies

  • Teams

Class size

  • Small (20-49)


  • Single class period (< 90 mins)

Instructional Purpose

  • Preparation & knowledge activation
  • Exploration & inquiry


In this activity, students will learn about factors impacting the speed of a reaction as explained by collision theory.

Students benefit from this exercise as the simulator takes the abstract and makes it ‘real’ for the students. Students are able to engage with the simulator, modify parameters and see cause and effect on reaction rates. Students benefit from working collaboratively with others to converge on correct interpretations of observable phenomena using various aspects of collision theory.

The activity is rooted in constructivism, allowing students to collaborate with peers to answer questions. The activity is highly scaffolded using Moog et al.’s Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) approach.

This activity can be completed in 1-2 hours. This activity has been effectively used F2F and online and often is used as an introduction to collision theory. Prior to the activity, students should have a good understanding of what is a rate law.

Instructional Objectives

Following the activity students will be able to:

  • Describe a reaction in terms of collisions between reacting particles
  • Discuss rate of reaction in terms of rate of collisions, rate of effective collisions, and the energy of activation, as described by collision theory
  • Interpret and discuss a simple reaction progress diagram, showing the relative energies of reactants and products, and the energy of activation
  • Discuss the effect on the rate of reaction of concentrations of reactants, energy of activation, temperature and a catalyst
  • Define and explain how the molecularity of a collision can impact the rate of a reaction

Workflow & Materials


Activity Workflow

View on CourseFlow

Contributor's Notes

  • Learning to work collaboratively with others, students are responsible for submitting their observations, interpretations and conclusions from the simulation activity with minimal guidance from the instructor.
  • Students who struggle with the abstract of chemistry benefit from the simulator
  • Teachers must simply guide and prompt discussion. Direct answers should be avoided as the activity is scaffolded.
  • Time is a factor. This can be completed in one class period but some groups who need time to digest the content may take longer.
  • You may want to suggest that students read relevant chapter on Collision Theory before this lesson.
  • The activity functions more efficiently if students have already worked together, ex. in a permanent work group.

Applied Strategies