PhET simulations

Another useful tool that could be taken straight into the science classroom after half term is from the University of Boulder, Colorado. Through PhET simulations, they have created a set of online simulations on a wide range of scientific topics and concepts.

The ideas that they have focussed on are hard to practically see, or even demonstrate within the classroom and cover biology, chemistry and physics. I have found it useful for my A-level biology pupils to demonstrate action potentials in nerves all the way to my physics (not my specialism) GCSE classes learning about static and the movement of charged particles. One of the best ways they have helped pupils is by using the electric circuits simulation. The ability to quickly make circuits, measure voltage and current and test hypothesise before being let loose on the real equipment in the lab. They are a good test bed in preparation for the real thing – saves a lot of time. Oh, and it’s free!

According to their website;
PhET provides fun, free, interactive, research-based science and mathematics simulations. We extensively test and evaluate each simulation to ensure educational effectiveness. These tests include student interviews and observation of simulation use in classrooms. The simulations are written in Java, Flash or HTML5, and can be run online or downloaded to your computer. All simulations are open source (see our source code). Multiple sponsors support the PhET project, enabling these resources to be free to all students and teachers.

Definitely worth a look

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