Pedagogy in Action > Library > PhET Interactive Science Simulations > Examples > Resources for using PhET simulations in class – PhET Activities Database

Resources for using PhET simulations in class – PhET Activities Database

Compiled by Sam McKagan, based on material from the PhET Team
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This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project

Summary

PhET Activities Database

The PhET Activities Database is a collection of resources for using PhET simulations. It includes hundreds of lesson plans, homework assignments, labs, clicker questions, and more. Some activities have been created by the PhET team and some have been created by other teachers. Anyone can contribute to the database, and you are encouraged to submit your own activities if you use PhET simulations in your teaching.

Learning Goals

PhET simulations are particularly good for helping students build models and develop conceptual understanding. Some of them include quantitative as well as qualitative aspects, and can be used develop a quantitative understanding. The PhET Activities Database contains many different kinds of activities with a wide variety of learning goals.

Context for Use

PhET simulations have an open-ended design so they can be used with a variety of teaching environments and styles, at levels ranging "from grade school to grad school." They can be used in large lectures, individual homework, small group work in labs, and more. The PhET Activities Database contains many different kinds of activities for use in a wide variety of contexts.

Description and Teaching Materials

Most activities in the PhET Activities Database contain modifiable Word or PowerPoint files containing lesson plans, homework assignments, lab worksheets, lecture slides and/or descriptions of how to use the materials. You can use these as-is, or modify them as needed to suit your learning environment.

Activities created by the PhET team have a PhET logo next to the name of the activity. The rest of the activities have been submitted by instructors who use PhET in their classrooms. Activities that follow the PhET Activity Design Guidelines have a gold star next to the activity title.

Teaching Notes and Tips

To find specific ideas for how to use PhET simulations in class, search the PhET Activities Database for lesson plans, homework assignments, labs, clicker questions, and more. You can search by simulation, by lesson type (laboratory, homework, clicker questions, demonstrations, other), by level (K-5, middle school, high school, undergraduate-intro, undergraduate-advanced, grad, other), or by language. You can also find activities related to a specific simulation by scrolling to the bottom of the simulation page, or for activities related to a specific topic by entering the topic in the search bar anywhere on the PhET site.

Assessment

The activities with a gold star have been reviewed by a PhET team member and determined to follow the PhET Activity Design Guidelines for inquiry-based activities. The other activities in the database have not been reviewed and are of varying quality. There are spaces for user comments on each activity so you can see how others have used or modified the activities, and you are encouraged to add your own comments to activities you have tried.

References and Resources


The PhET Activities Database: link http://phet.colorado.edu/en/for-teachers/browse-activities

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