Developed by: Wolfgang Christian

middle schoolhigh schoolintro collegeinter-mediateupper levelgrad school   other

 Intro College Calculus-based
calc based
 Intro College Algebra-based
alg based
 Intro College Conceptual

Mechanics  Electricity / Magnetism  Waves / Optics  Thermal / Statistical  Modern / Quantum +2
Lecture - Large (30+ students)  Lecture - Small (<30 students)  Recitation/Discussion Session  Lab  Homework  Studio

What? Small, flexible, educational physics applets using simple graphics to convey only salient features of physical phenomena; Modifiable and adaptable, they are designed for use in quizzes, homework problems, and Just in Time Teaching activities. Appropriate for almost any curriculum or teaching style.

Why? They are free and easy to incorporate into nearly any teaching environment or style. Because Physlets are designed to illustrate one focused concept or idea, students don't get distracted or tempted to click on an array of tools. Many are supported with supplementary problem sets and explanations.

Why not? Physlets are do not stand alone and work best to support an existing curriculum. If your goal is for your students to learn to use real lab equipment, or if you don't have access to computers, Physlets might nots be the best approach. They can be buggy on mobile devices.

Student skills developed

Designed for:
  • Conceptual understanding
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Using multiple representations
Can be adapted for:
  • Lab skills
  • Designing experiments

Instructor effort required

  • Medium

Resources required

  • Projector
  • Computers for students

Developer's website: Physlets
Intro Article: W. Christian, M. Belloni, F. Esquembre, B. Mason, L. Barbato, and M. Riggsbee, The Physlet Approach to Simulation Design, Phys. Teach. 53 (7), 419 (2015).

You can access the Physlet Physics 3E and Physlet Quantum Physics 3E interactive texts and instructor's guides, with hundreds of ready-to-run interactive exercises for teaching physics, for free from the Physlets curriculum page on PhysPort.

Bronze Validation
This is the third highest level of research validation, corresponding to:
  • at least 1 of the "based on" categories
  • at least 1 of the "demonstrated to improve" categories
  • at least 1 of the "studied using" categories
(Categories shown below)

Research Validation Summary

Based on Research Into:

  • theories of how students learn
  • student ideas about specific topics

Demonstrated to Improve:

  • conceptual understanding
  • problem-solving skills
  • lab skills
  • beliefs and attitudes
  • attendance
  • retention of students
  • success of underrepresented groups
  • performance in subsequent classes

Studied using:

  • cycle of research and redevelopment
  • student interviews
  • classroom observations
  • analysis of written work
  • research at multiple institutions
  • research by multiple groups
  • peer-reviewed publication


Compatible Methods

Peer Instruction PhET Interactive Simulations Tutorials in Introductory Physics +49 more...

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