PhET provides fun, free, interactive, research-based science and mathematics simulations. We extensively test and evaluate each simulation to ensure educational effectiveness. These tests include student interviews and observation of simulation use in classrooms. The simulations are written in Java, Flash or HTML5, and can be run online or downloaded to your computer.
To help students engage in science and mathematics through inquiry, PhET simulations are developed using the following design principles:
- Encourage scientific inquiry
- Provide interactivity
- Make the invisible visible
- Show visual mental models
- Include multiple representations (e.g., object motion, graphs, numbers, etc.)
- Use real-world connections
- Give users implicit guidance (e.g., by limiting controls) in productive exploration
- Create a simulation that can be flexibly used in many educational situations
Several tools in the simulations provide an interactive experience:
- Click and drag to interact with simulation features
- Use sliders to increase and decrease parameters
- Choose between options with radio buttons
- Make measurements in your experiments with various instruments – rulers, stop-watches, voltmeters, and thermometers.