Augmented Reality: Exploring the Gold-Foil Experiment

This summer I stepped up the Augmented Reality aspect of my classroom by making a few more models that I thought would help with understanding Chemistry. One of these models I haven’t written about but may be my most fun yet is my model of the Rutherford Gold Foil experiment. Here’s a link to the model, and the slow-motion version of the model.

Below is an image which acts as a marker AND the item you can scan to get the model (pretty awesome, if you ask me!). I tried to make one for the slow-motion version, but it wasn’t distinct enough, so I’m going to have to work on that if I still want to use the slow-mo version.


To use this tool, just download the augment app (iOS or Android), click “scan”, and view the image above.

My gut reaction was to show the cool model and have students figure out what the model meant. But that would be too open-ended and would focus too much on the model, which shouldn’t be the point of the lesson. On the opposite end is the lame idea of explaining everything and then showing the model as an afterthought.

The best would be to use the model at the appropriate time and present it as the experiment. (“What do you expect to happen according to the last model?” and “What do you notice happening to some of the protons as they collide with the gold foil?” and “What could explain why this is happening?”) The tough thing will be making it so it doesn’t take too long.

I haven’t videotaped myself viewing this model (hope to get some footage of students soon), so I’ll just include the rendered video from Blender below (this is the slow-motion video).


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