Physics 10

The Physics Education Technology (PhET) site offers interactive simulations of physical phenomena. More than 80 simulations let students experiment with circuits, string tension, kinetic and potential energy, radio waves and electromagnetic fields, balloons and static electricity, ideal gas and buoyancy, velocity and acceleration, sound waves and the Doppler Effect, and more. These simulations from the University of Colorado may be used online or downloaded, and each one is accompanied by sample learning goals and teaching tips. You can even install the entire Web site on your own computer so you don't need to be online to use the simulations. If you’re a middle school or high school student or teacher interested in physics or physical science, don’t miss this site!

The ASPIRE Web site from the University of Utah features online simulations and lessons on topics such as waves, force and motion, kinetic energy, and more. (ASPIRE stands for Astrophysics Science Project Integrating Research and Education.)

Physclips introduces mechanics through video clips and animations. This extensive site from a physics professor in Australia covers acceleration, circular motion, Newton's laws, energy and power, momentum, gravity, and more.

The Physics Classroom is an online tutorial written for high school physics students by a teacher in Illinois. This well-organized site includes a tutorial in physics concepts and a multimedia lab with many animations of physics concepts.

Physlets is an extensive collection of animations of physics concepts from Davidson University and Lawrence Technological University. Concepts include kinematics, frictional force, momentum, torques, gravity, optics, electrostatics, circuits, waves, and more. These JAVA applets can be used online or installed on your computer.

This collection of Physics Animations is from the University of Toronto. Topics include chaos, classical mechanics, fluid mechanics, quantum mechanics, optics, relativity, vectors, waves, and more. These animations are also available in Spanish.

The Museum of Models: Physics provides more than 40 online interactives that demonstrate concepts in mechanics, fluid mechanics and dynamics, electromagnetism, and quantum physics. Watch simulations of a pendulum, suspension bridge, charged particle in a magnetic chamber, hourglass, Archimedes' Principle of Buoyancy, electrical fields, gears, light-matter interactions, Newton's Cradle, pulleys, springs, water flow when a dam collapses, and more. This site is from the Concord Consortium and the National Science Foundation.

Learn how to build your own cosmic ray detector, make a nucleus out of marshmallows, or ask a nuclear scientist a question on The ABC's of Nuclear Science site, provided by the Nuclear Science division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Teachers can print or order the Nuclear Physics Wall Chart that covers topics such as radioactivity, nuclear energy, stellar energy, the Big Bang, and more.

Inquiring Minds from the US Department of Energy's Fermilab describes the science of matter, space, and time, and provides information about particle physics. A short video and a timeline illustrating the history of high-energy physics are interesting features.

The Interactive Plasma Physics Education Experience from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory features interactive modules on matter, electricity and magnetism, energy, and fusion.

Learning about Properties of Vectors and Vector Sums Using Dynamic Software uses dynamic geometrical representation to help students develop an understanding of vectors and their properties. Students manipulate vectors to control the movement of a car or a plane in these two interactives from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Illuminations site.

Teachers' Domain has a large collection of physics and physical science video clips and lesson plans. Create a free account, search by grade level and topic, and save clips to your own folders. An example:

Virtual Car: Velocity and Acceleration from Teachers' Domain demonstrates how vectors are used to represent velocity (speed and direction) and acceleration. In the activity, vectors change in real time as you "drive" a car on a flat plane; as you change speed and direction, vectors originating from the car respond to your actions. A graph depicting speed vs. time also responds to your actions, displaying both the speed and acceleration of the car.

Galileo's Experiments from NOVA animates the concepts of falling objects, projectiles, inclined planes, and pendulums.

E = mc 2 Explained: Listen to 10 top physicists explain Einstein's theory of relativity in these video clips from the NOVA program Einstein's Big Idea. These videos are also available for free download from iTunes.

Moving Targets from NOVA demonstrates how astronomers use the Doppler Effect to determine stellar velocities.

Sodaconstructor is a construction kit for interactive creations using masses and springs. Students can use Sodaconstructor to help them learn about the physics behind buildings and machines. By altering physical properties like gravity, friction, spring stiffness and speed, theories can be tested and models can be made to walk, climb, fall or collapse. Additional tools are available at the Sodaplay site, and some lesson plans are available at