Common Sense Review
Updated July 2016

PhET Interactive Simulations: Chemistry

Electrifying chemistry simulations show processes that labs can't
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This module is part of the Website PhET Interactive Simulations.
Common Sense Rating 5
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  • Build elements from their constituent parts, and handily swap between orbit and cloud electron models.
  • Balancing chemical equations has never been easier, though there aren't a ton of reactions to play with.
  • Best used in conjunction with a real-world experiment, the balloon demonstrator shows what's really happing with charge.
  • Lovely 3D visuals show off molecule shapes right in your browser.
  • From density to decay, you're sure to find the right simulation in this massive library.
Galen McQuillen
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 5
How Can Teachers Use It?

PhET's excellent simulations, which visualize and let students take an active role in controlling complex scientific phenomena, are as useful for early childhood chemical understanding as they are for advanced study. Tools such as the molecule and atom builders are a blast for kids to play with, and they teach chemical properties along the way. The alpha and beta decay demonstrators, the reversible reaction simulator, and molecular polarity tools all make high school chemistry that much more accessible. Even stoichiometry gets the interactive treatment with a web app that makes balancing chemical equations easier than you've ever imagined. For AP chemistry and beyond, there's a dedicated section for quantum chemistry that includes looks at bound states, semiconductors, nuclear fission, and more. There really is something for everyone here. 

Let students get their hands on these sims 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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See how teachers are using PhET Interactive Simulations

Lesson Plans