MMLI in a Box

The MMLI in a Box is literally a miniature molecule making lab brought to you in a colorful box!

MMLI in a Box transforms all the powers of a real lab into carefully crafted low-tech material (e.g. lenticular printed cards, 3D printed macroscopic models), and highly intuitive, engaging hands-on and role-play activities inspired by the latest NGSS guidelines. These materials and activities empower teachers to help their students enter the awe-inspiring world of molecules, artificial intelligence (AI), and AI-powered molecule making.

MMLI in a Box scaffolds the development of students’ intuitions related to molecules, chemical reactions, and structure-function relationships. Specifically, students develop a sense of how the different properties (e.g. structure and functions) of a molecule interact with each other, how knowing about one or more such properties can help us predict the other, and how artificial intelligence can help in making such predictions more accurate, effective, and fast and efficient.  

The Digital Molecule Maker coupled with the Box further supports the development of such intuitions, as well as creativity and imagination, by allowing students to explore thousands of instances of Lego-like building of molecules as they design their own new molecule with novel functions. Finally, synthesizing student-designed molecules allows students to reflect on their intuitions.

The design of MMLI in a Box emerged through our conversations with chemists, science teachers, and chemistry professors. Among the many eye-opening things we learned during the conversations were stories of common difficulties among students in understanding structure-function relationships stemming from lack of student access to the actual microscopic world of chemicals, molecules, tools, and well-equipped laboratory spaces. We realized that the key to revolutionizing chemistry education, and creating a visionary generation of chemists is to provide the students, and possibly everyone, with a lab of their own.

The MMLI in a box material has been piloted in University of Illinois General Chemistry classrooms, and brand new curriculum encapsulating work all MMLI thrusts has been produced and piloted to target middle and high-school students. Learn more about our K-12 curriculum here!

Starting 2024, MMLI in a Box will be delivered to classrooms across Illinois, particularly to students in STEM from traditionally underserved communities. Interested? Contact us here.