Let’s face it, in-person labs and simulations are amazing tools to help students make connections with standards, concepts, theories and problem solving as they play out in real life. Another real life component is that time, budgets and spaces can be a true barrier for many classrooms. What if you could have access to over 150 interactive simulations covering physics, chemistry, math, earth science and biology and put that into the hands of your students on demand? What if these simulations could be used for problem based learning, pre or post formative assessments or multiple learning stations?
Meet the PhET Interactive Simulations project at the University of Colorado Boulder. This completely free resource allows students to navigate through countless simulations using problem-based learning and a game-like approach. These simulations include multiple accessibility and inclusive feature options in over 100 languages. These sims can be used in a variety of ways, but lesson plans, teaching resources and teacher tips are also available for free to teachers who register with the site.
Teachers and students alike will find the search functions very easy to use. Sorting is available by subject, grade level, compatibility, access and inclusion and language. Teachers can assign specific simulations, error analysis for the sim results and an easy reset function allows for multiple attempts. Variables that can be manipulated differ depending upon the simulation, but can be adjusted and recorded as needed. Each landing page also includes the topics addressed, sample learning goals, and inclusive features. Most of the sims also utilize HTML5, making these available across iPads, Chromebooks, PC’s and Macs.