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Physics Education Technology - University of Colorado, Boulder

New #HTML5 Area Builder Simulation


In the new #HTML5 Area Builder simulation, students can flexibly explore ideas related to area and perimeter. They can find the area of rectangular and irregular shapes, discover the relationship between area and perimeter, and apply fractional knowledge as they build shapes with a given area and perimeter.

Area Builder is appropriate for any grade level that is studying area and perimeter and is specifically aligned with Common Core State Standards in elementary and middle school mathematics. For some teacher tips written by PhET’s Amanda McGarry, see


Oct 9


New Three-Day Activity for Learning Fractions

Fractions Intro

Try the latest teaching guide for Fractions Intro. Just like the three-day lab for Circuit Construction Kit (DC Only) featured in our blog last week, this three-day activity was also developed between Meaghan Hixson and our PhET Team.

  • Day 1: What is a Fraction?: students explore what makes a fraction by manipulating numerators and denominators. Through discussion and various fraction representations, students learn that numerators are the number of pieces being considered and the denominators are the number of equal pieces in a whole.
  • Day 2: Comparing and Ordering Fractions: students use their knowledge of numerators/denominators from Day 1 to compare and order fractions and come up with rules for discussing the size of fractions.
  • Day 3: Equivalent Fractions: students explore fraction equivalence using the Build a Fraction sim. By using the sim to create various representations of  the same amount, students explore and discuss rules for finding equivalent fractions.

Want to see more simulations for iPads and tablets?
Please Donate Now!


Oct 6


New #HTML5 Wave on a String Now Online!


Try the newly published #HTML5 Wave on a String simulation. Watch a string vibrate in slow motion. Wiggle the end of the string and make waves, or adjust the frequency and amplitude of an oscillator. Adjust the damping and tension. The end can be fixed, loose, or open. With Wave on a String, students will learn about wave properties and be able to predict behavior of waves through varying media and different endpoints.


Oct 2


Did You Miss Trish Loeblein’s Webinar: Personal Experiences on Using PhET?

Did you miss Conifer Chemistry Teacher and PhET K12 Specialist Trish Loeblein discuss her personal experiences on how and why she uses PhET in her chemistry classroom? Over 190 listened to and chatted with Trish as she shared her strategies, course planning documents, lessons, and student handouts for regular and advanced chemistry.

See the archived version at:

 Thanks AACT and all those that attended.




Sep 30


New #HTML5 Color Vision Simulation

Color Vision Sim

Try the new #HTML5 Color Vision simulation. Make a whole rainbow by mixing red, green, and blue light. Change the wavelength of a monochromatic beam or filter white light. View the light as a solid beam, or see the individual photons.

Students will learn to:

  • Determine what color the person sees for various combinations of red, green, and blue light.
  • Describe the color of light that is able to pass through different colored filters.


Sep 25


Learn How to Use PhET to Teach the Common Core at the CCTM Annual Meeting

CCTM Annual Conference


Are you going to the CCTM Annual Meeting at the Denver Merchandise Mart?

See PhET’s Amanda McGarry talk about how to use PhET in teaching the Common Core. She will discuss how you can support students to engage in the Standards for Mathematical Practice and show ways you can incorporate sims into your teaching, engage students in inquiry-based activities, and access PhET resources for teachers, including lesson plans and videos of master teachers. See you there!

Place: CCTM Annual Meeting, Denver Merchandise Mart
September 26, 2014
Time: 1:15-2:15 PM



Sep 19


For Developers: Learn about how to integrate PhET



For software developers: our educational HTML5 apps & libraries are open source and ready to use in your projects:

Learn how to:

  1. Check out the PhET HTML5 libraries and simulations from GitHub
  2. Create new simulations
  3. Understand & customize code for our simulations
  4. Submit bug fixes for our simulations
  5. Embed a PhET simulation in your own website
  6. Use powerful libraries for rendering, audio, touch/mouse/pen input, geometry, MVC, UI and more.
  7. Communicate with PhET developers and others developing with PhET libraries


Hope to see you there!


Sep 15


New HTML5 Balancing Chemical Equations Simulation

Balancing Chemical Equation

Try the new HTML5 Balancing Chemical Equations simulation! How do you know if a chemical equation is balanced? What can you change to balance an equation? Play a game to test your ideas. Students will learn to:

  • Balance a chemical equation.
  • Recognize that the number of atoms of each element is conserved in a chemical reaction.
  • Describe the difference between coefficients and subscripts in a chemical equation.
  • Translate from symbolic to molecular representations of matter.

Thank you American Association of Chemistry Teachers for your generous donation that supported the development of the new HTML5 Balancing Chemical Equations.



Sep 8


Free New Webinar from PhET and the AACT: Tuesday, Sept. 23rd at 7 PM EDT


Teachers, join us for a free webinar with experienced high-school chemistry teacher and PhET K-12 specialist Trish Loeblein.

Sponsored by the American Association of Chemistry Teachers, this webinar will provide a more detailed look into how Trish implements PhET in her classroom, along with tips in how you can in yours.

Date: Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Time: 7 PM, Eastern Daylight Time
Register at



Sep 3


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?
Please Donate Now.


Aug 27