Updated November 2014

CK-12: Physics

Mixed bag of mostly useful free resources, some from external sites

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Science, Critical Thinking

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CK-12's Physics module has something for almost any physics topic including motion, energy, electricity, and waves. The number of resources available for each topic can vary; some may offer just one method to explore the content, while others might offer reading passages, video clips, animations, and formative assessments. Some lessons utilize the excellent simulations from external resources like PhET. One such tool lets kids change resistance and voltage on a simple circuit to figure out Ohm’s Law for themselves. Animations like this emphasize that equations are simply mathematical models that we use to make sense of our world. The Next Generation of Science Standards identify mathematical modeling as a key Science and Engineering Practice that students should utilize across various science disciplines.

Because the quality of different tools varies widely, spend some time looking around and choose wisely. For instance, the Ohm’s Law practice quiz available from the external Wisc-Online site gives specific instructions when kids get questions wrong -- this feature isn't available when it's completed within CK-12. Nevertheless, some of CK-12's original resources, like the Portrait Gallery, are very helpful at showing kids real-world applications for physics concepts like Vectors. And while CK-12's Physics Videos can be rather dry, they can be great for students to review at home, or to use as part of a substitute lesson plan.


  • Portrait Gallery: Change vector variables to see when the picture hanger will snap.
  • Ohm's Law Simulation: Adjust voltage and resistance to see how it impacts current.
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