Friday, June 19, 2015

Website Review: PhET Interactive Simulations

The PhET INTERACTIVE SIMULATIONS website from the University of Colorado contains engaging, educational simulations for math and science.
The goal of the project is to help students engage in STEM through inquiry-based experiences with real-world connections. The website contains simulations in physics, biology, chemistry, earth science, and math. Users can search by grade level or device.
The simulations are fun, intuitive, and easy-to-use. Simulations actively involve users in learning by clicking and dragging objects, using a slider to change parameters, choosing among options using radio buttons, and making measurements with various simulated tools such as rulers, stop-watches, voltmeters, and thermometers. As students work their way through the simulations, they receive immediate feedback based on their choices.
The teacher resources section provides tips for using the simulations and links to instructional materials such as labs, homework assignments, lectures, activities, concept questions, and other learning resources that connect with the simulations.
Resources are also provided to help teachers and students run the simulations. The simulations can be used on the website or downloaded and played on a computer. Keep in mind that that Flash versions won’t run on the iPad, but the HTML5 versions will run fine.
Finally, the website contains a page focusing on the research that’s been conducted into the design and use of interactive simulations in teaching and learning.
Librarians will find a wide range of STEM topics addressed in the simulations. Work with teachers to connect these simulations with science standards and other classroom activities. Also use the simulations to promote the idea of inquiry-based learning.
To explore the website, go to