PhET Logo July 2012 Newsletter

Sam overseas for PhET

Donate Now

Help keep PhET free! Individual donations bring science to kids in your town and around the world.

So please consider:
$15 if you're a teacher who uses a few sims
$25-50+ if you use more sims
$200+ for individual schools
$500+ for districts

All donations are tax deductible.

Thanks for your support!

See our PhET
Training Webinar

See the new PhET Training Webinar hosted by Oregon Virtual Schools. You can download materials, watch the webinar or use it for holding a workshop. For more materials on holding a workshop, email Patricia Loeblein.

Visit Us at iTunes U

Check out our PhET resources at the University of Colorado Boulder iTunes U. Look for us under the Teaching and Learning category. Are there ideas that you would like to see in podcasts? Let us know!

In the Pipeline:

  • Plate Tectonics
  • Forces and Motion: Basics
  • Energy Forms and Changes
  • Fractions
  • Line Graphing
  • Chemical reactions
  • and more...

Upcoming Events:

P2PU: Peer-to-Peer University
Free Course for Educators
Participate or Follow
July 9-29, 2012

BCCE 2012
University Park, PA
July 29 - August 2, 2012

Virtual School Symposium
Exhibit Booth
New Orleans, LA
October 21-24, 2012

Feedback or Suggestions?

If you have any ideas, please let us know at

PhET's New "Sponsor-a-Simulation" Program

Example sponsor dialog

Do you know a company who wants to invest in educating our next generation? For companies or organizations interested in supporting STEM education, we have a new "Sponsor-a-Sim" program where they can pick a simulation to sponsor. If you know someone who might be interested, please contact Kathy Dessau. More details are at Thanks!

Featured Sims:


Concentration simulation

Learn about solutions and molarity with the new Concentration sim. Watch your solution change color as you mix chemicals with water. Then check molarity with the concentration meter. What are all the ways you can change the concentration of your solution? Switch solutes to compare different chemicals and find out how concentrated you can go before you hit saturation!

After the activity, students will be able to:

  • Describe the relationships between volume and amount of solute to solution concentration.
  • Predict how solution concentration will change for any action (or combination of actions) that adds or removes water, solute, or solution, and explain why.
  • Design a procedure for creating a solution of a given concentration.
  • Identify when a solution is saturated and predict how concentration will change for any action or combination of actions where water or solute change.

Fluid Pressure and Flow

Fluid Pressure and Flow simulation

Explore pressure in the atmosphere and underwater with the new Fluid Pressure and Flow sim. Reshape a pipe to see how it changes fluid flow speed. Experiment with a leaky water tower to see how the height and water level determine the water trajectory.

Learning goals include:

  • Investigating how pressure changes in air and water.
  • Discovering how you can change pressure.
  • Predicting pressure in a variety of situations.
  • Determining how fluid motion affects the pressure.
  • Exploring the relationship between water pressure and water velocity.

Check Out These Other New Simuations:

Meet Our Emily Moore:

What got you involved in PhET?

When I taught General Chemistry, I used PhET sims. While using the sims, my students asked more questions, were more involved in class discussions and even the quieter students would excitedly discuss content questions in class. The change in classroom atmosphere when using the sims was fascinating to me. Working with the PhET project I get to design sims and study their use, which for me is a perfect combination of getting to contribute great free resources for classrooms everywhere with my interest in understanding student engagement in the classroom.
Emily Moore

What do you do for PhET?

I have two main objectives with the PhET project. The first is to lead the development of chemistry simulations for middle school and college classrooms. The second objective is to research effective use of the PhET simulations. Both require lots of creativity and collaboration, so I get to work closely with all of the PhET team members and with teachers and students across grade levels.

How do you see PhET helping teachers?

The PhET simulations provide a tool that has designed-in support for students, while remaining flexible for the teacher. The sims can be used as a complement to any teacher's facilitation style, as a lecture demo or in student group work or assigned as homework. This built-in flexibility supports teachers, who are constantly adapting facilitation to the needs of their students, while also providing opportunities for teacher's to creatively use the sims. I love hearing the innovative ways teachers use PhET sims, within POGIL activities, coupled with clicker questions or even going "meta" with students, asking questions like "Why do you think that particular representation was used in the sim?".

How do you see PhET helping kids?

PhET sims are designed to be open, inviting, immediately engaging, safe places for student exploration. Kids get the opportunity to 'figure out' the sim, with no penalties for trying something 'wrong'. In fact, trying something that doesn't work out as expected in the sim often encourages kids to try more! This emphasis on 'sense-making' (hey, why didn't that work...oh, I get it, it's because...) rather than correct 'answer-making' can be a powerful experience for kids, and it turns out, this mirrors what scientists do. Scientists try all sorts of experiments that don't end up not working, and are constantly trying to make sense of why an experiment didn't work, which results in a deeper understanding when an experiment does work.

Where do you see PhET going?

Everywhere! All PhET simulations are a unique combination of interactivity and support, based on PhET design principles. This approach to sim design can be useful across many disciplines, so I see PhET continuing to expand into more disciplines and across K-16.

What's your favorite sim, and why?

Circuit Construction Kit is my favorite sim. I have had the opportunity of observing this sim being used in multiple classrooms, and the response is always the same. Students dig right in, light up light bulbs and figure out how to set batteries on fire. They talk about electron flow, energy, voltage and amps. When they're done, they can go home and tell their parents about how real batteries work, how real light bulbs light, what circuits are used for, and how much fun they had in science class. Awesome!

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