Towards research-based strategies for using PhET simulations in middle school physical science classes Documents

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Towards research-based strategies for using PhET simulations in middle school physical science classes 

written by Katherine K. Perkins, Emily Moore, Noah S. Podolefsky, Kelly Lancaster, and Christine Denison

The PhET Interactive Simulations Project at the University of Colorado Boulder has begun a new effort to develop and research simulations ('sims') for middle school physical science. PhET sims have typically been aimed at the college level, but many sims are used in middle school classrooms. Thus, we aim to study the use of PhET sims at this level more systematically, particularly investigating elements of effective sim design and classroom implementation. Over the past year, we have collected observations of middle school students and teachers using PhET simulations. These observations include more than 80 student interviews as well as classroom implementations from 5th-8th grade by 4 different teachers. In this paper, we present initial insights that are emerging from these observations and propose several strategies for designing and implementing simulation activities. We include concrete examples of activities where these strategies have been used effectively.

Published February 6, 2012
Last Modified April 25, 2012

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