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The Physics Teacher
written by Carl E. Wieman, Wendy K. Adams, Trish Loeblein, and Katherine Perkins
PhET Interactive Simulations (sims) are now being widely used in teaching physics and chemistry. Sims can be used in many different educational settings, including lecture, individual or small group inquiry activities, homework, and lab. Here we will highlight a few ways to use them in teaching, based on our research and experiences using them in high school and college classes. The basic strategies for using sims effectively match those for all effective teaching. Briefly, they include: 1) define specific learning goals; 2) encourage students to use sense-making and reasoning; 3) connect with and build on students' prior knowledge and understanding (including addressing  possible misconceptions); 4) connect to and make sense of real-world experiences; 5) encourage productive collaborative activities; 6) do not overly constrain student exploration; 7) require reasoning/sense-making in words and diagrams (i.e. multiple representations); 8) help students monitor their understanding.

Editor's Note: See "Item Details" below for a free-access mirror link to this article.
The Physics Teacher: Volume 48, Issue 4, Pages 225-227
Subjects ADS Supplements Resource Types
- Astronomy Education
Classical Mechanics
- General
Education Foundations
- Cognition
= Cognition Development
- Learning Theory
= Representations
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Cooperative Learning
= Inquiry Learning
- Instructional Material Design
= Simulation
- Technology
= Multimedia
Electricity & Magnetism
- General
General Physics
- Scientific Reasoning
Other Sciences
- Chemistry
- Environmental Science
- Life Sciences
- Mathematics
Quantum Physics
- General
- Reference Material
= Article
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
Rights Holder:
American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT)
interactive simulation, mental models, sense-making, visualization
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created September 15, 2022 by Lauren Bauman
Record Updated:
November 15, 2022 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
March 19, 2010
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Record Link
AIP Format
C. Wieman, W. Adams, T. Loeblein, and K. Perkins, , Phys. Teach. 48 (4), 225 (2010), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1119/1.3361987).
C. Wieman, W. Adams, T. Loeblein, and K. Perkins, Teaching Physics Using PhET Simulations, Phys. Teach. 48 (4), 225 (2010), <https://doi.org/10.1119/1.3361987>.
APA Format
Wieman, C., Adams, W., Loeblein, T., & Perkins, K. (2010, March 19). Teaching Physics Using PhET Simulations. Phys. Teach., 48(4), 225-227. Retrieved December 4, 2022, from https://doi.org/10.1119/1.3361987
Chicago Format
Wieman, C, W. Adams, T. Loeblein, and K. Perkins. "Teaching Physics Using PhET Simulations." Phys. Teach. 48, no. 4, (March 19, 2010): 225-227, https://doi.org/10.1119/1.3361987 (accessed 4 December 2022).
MLA Format
Wieman, Carl, Wendy Adams, Trish Loeblein, and Katherine Perkins. "Teaching Physics Using PhET Simulations." Phys. Teach. 48.4 (2010): 225-227. 4 Dec. 2022 <https://doi.org/10.1119/1.3361987>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Carl Wieman and Wendy Adams and Trish Loeblein and Katherine Perkins", Title = {Teaching Physics Using PhET Simulations}, Journal = {Phys. Teach.}, Volume = {48}, Number = {4}, Pages = {225-227}, Month = {March}, Year = {2010} }
Refer Export Format

%A Carl Wieman %A Wendy Adams %A Trish Loeblein %A Katherine Perkins %T Teaching Physics Using PhET Simulations %J Phys. Teach. %V 48 %N 4 %D March 19, 2010 %P 225-227 %U https://doi.org/10.1119/1.3361987 %O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Wieman, Carl %A Adams, Wendy %A Loeblein, Trish %A Perkins, Katherine %D March 19, 2010 %T Teaching Physics Using PhET Simulations %J Phys. Teach. %V 48 %N 4 %P 225-227 %8 March 19, 2010 %U https://doi.org/10.1119/1.3361987

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