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Physics Education Technology - University of Colorado, Boulder

Archive for August, 2014

New Three-Day Teaching Activity for Learning About Electricity


Have you seen our latest teaching guide for Circuit Construction Kit (DC Only)?

Ideal for elementary school students, the three-day lab explores basic electricity relationships. Developed through a collaboration between Meaghan Hixson, 4th-grade teacher at Burlington Elementary, Longmont, CO, and our PhET Team, these activity sheets and lesson plans are engaging for both students and teachers, incorporating frequent student exploration and discussion. The lessons are aligned with NGSS physical science standards and CCSS literacy standards. (Both lesson and activity sheets are annotated to support teacher implementation.)

  • Day 1: Lighting a Bulb explores how electrons flow through a loop from the source (battery) to the receiver (bulb) and the difference between open and closed circuits. What happens when more batteries are used?
  • Day 2: Exploring Kinds of Circuits delves into deeper concepts of circuits, including lighting several bulbs in series or parallel circuits.
  • Day 3: Conductors and Insulators applies what the students have learned and explores what makes an insulator or conductor, looking at commonly found objects from the Grab Bag such as paperclips and pencils.

Want to see Circuit Construction Kit for iPads and tablets?
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Aug 27


Help PhET Make More HTML5 Simulations!


PhET needs your help! If you’re an educator, parent, student, STEM supporter or a company, please support our campaign to bring the popular Circuit Construction Kit to HTML5 compatibility. Any amount helps — minimum donation is $10. Donate now to help speed the conversions.



Aug 21


Excited for the 2014-15 School Year? Get the Sparks Flying with John Travoltage!

JohnTravoltage Sim

Get the sparks flying for the new school year with the John Travoltage simulation. Wiggle Johnnie’s foot and he picks up charges from the carpet. Bring his hand close to the door knob and get rid of the excess charge.

Good luck to both students and teachers for the upcoming year!


Aug 12


Build an Atom to Refresh Your Chemistry Knowledge

Build an Atom


Try the HTML5 version of Build an Atom to refresh your knowledge of the periodic table. With your fingers, build an atom out of protons, neutrons, and electrons, and see how the element, charge, and mass change. Then play a game to test what you’ve re-learned!


Aug 6