RealTime Physics

Developed by: David Sokoloff, Ron Thornton, and Priscilla Laws

middle schoolhigh schoolintro collegeinter-mediateupper levelgrad school   other

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

Mechanics  Electricity / Magnetism  Waves / Optics  Thermal / Statistical
Lab  Homework  Studio

What? A series of introductory laboratory modules that use computer data acquisition tools to help students develop physics concepts and acquire lab skills. Students construct their own models of physical phenomena based on observations, experiments, mathematical modeling, data analysis, and simulations.

Example materials


Student skills developed

Designed for:
  • Conceptual understanding
  • Lab skills
  • Using multiple representations

Instructor effort required

  • Low

Resources required

  • Computers for students
  • Advanced lab equipment
  • Cost for students
  • Tables for group work

Developer's website: RealTime Physics

Realtime Physics is available in a series of books published by Wiley:

In response to COVID-19, the developers of RealTime Physics have created a free Distance Learning RealTime Physics IOLab Mechanics active learning lab curriculum.

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