Updated July 2016

PhET Interactive Simulations: Earth Science

Solid simulations are more illuminating than textbook diagrams

Subjects & skills
  • Science

  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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PhET's excellent simulations, which let students visualize and take an active role in controlling complex scientific phenomena, have a place in earth science classes and units across the K-12 spectrum. From illustrating astronomy and gravity to demonstrating fluid dynamics and material properties (to more concrete phenomena such as glaciers, plate tectonics, and the greenhouse effect), there's almost certainly a simulation that will fit into your lessons.

Before turning to videos and diagrams to show off earth sciences, it's worth checking out PhET for a more dynamic experience. Let students get their hands on these and they'll quickly internalize tricky concepts. If you need some ideas, check out the teacher-prepared lesson plans, labs, and guides that accompany each simulation. 


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