Common Sense Review
Updated July 2016

PhET Interactive Simulations: Physics

The gold standard in virtual physics simulations is still outstanding
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This module is part of the Website PhET Interactive Simulations.
Common Sense Rating 5
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  • Simple machines can be made more complex with the sophisticated balance tool.
  • Understand energy and oscillation with the spring simulator.
  • See real-time visuals of the effects motion has on a radiating charge.
  • The relationship among integrals, functions, and derivatives is easy to grasp with this drag-and-draw tool.
  • Dozens of simulations all are neatly organized across subfields in physics.
Galen McQuillen
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 5
How Can Teachers Use It?

PhET was initially an acronym for "physics education technology," and amazing, accurate, and extremely useful physics simulations is still what the site does best. There are more physics demonstrations here than those in any other category, and in fact there's almost no concept in K-12 physics that doesn't have a fantastic interactive tool. With very basic demonstrations of charge, simple circuits, balance, and color, elementary school students experiencing physics for the first time can get their hands on virtual versions of real-world phenomena without specialized equipment. Meanwhile, high school seniors in AP physics will find simulations of nuclear fission, Fourier transforms, and physics-based derivatives and integrals. There's even something called John Travoltage, which, well, you'll have to see for yourself. 

If you need more concrete ideas of how to put these excellent tools to use in the classroom, 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