PhET Interactive Simulations
This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project
*American Association of Physics Teachers, McKagan Enterprises
What is PhET?PhET website. The simulations are animated, interactive, and game-like environments where students learn through exploration. They emphasize the connections between real-life phenomena and the underlying science, and help make the visual and conceptual models of expert scientists accessible to students. PhET simulations are primarily developed for and tested with university and high school students, but have been found to be educational and fun for students "from grade school to grad school."
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Why Teach with PhET?
PhET simulations are based on research into how students learn in general, student understanding of specific science concepts, and user interface design. Each simulation goes through an iterative design process of student interviews to test usability and conceptual learning, and classroom testing. Research shows that effective use of PhET simulations can lead to improved conceptual learning over traditional lectures, demonstrations, and labs.
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How to Teach with PhETPhET simulations are designed to be flexible and can be used with many different educational contexts and styles. They can be incorporated into lectures using ConcepTests, Interactive Lecture Demonstrations, or other forms of demonstrations. They can be incorporated into homework activities in which students interact with the simulations on their own and answer numerical, multiple-choice, or essay questions about what they discover. They can be incorporated into laboratories in which they supplement or even replace hands-on lab equipment. Research shows that PhET simulations work best when they are incorporated into guided-inquiry activities with minimal directions.
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circuit construction, the photoelectric effect, and pendulums, as well as guidelines for using the PhET activities database and techniques for writing your own PhET activities.