Julia Chamberlain, Kelly Lancaster (University of Colorado – Boulder, USA), Patricia Loeblein (University of Colorado-PhET Project and Evergreen High School, USA), Emily Moore (University of Utah, USA), Robert Parson, Katherine Perkins (University of Colorado – Boulder, USA)
The PhET project has developed over 100 interactive simulations for teaching and learning science. More than 35 of these deal with topics in chemistry, including atomic and molecular structure, gas properties, polarity, the mole concept, solubility, stoichiometry, reaction kinetics, and acid-base solutions. All simulations are available for free from our website (http://phet.colorado.edu). PhET’s simulation design principles draw upon cognitive research on how people learn and discipline-based research on common student difficulties. The simulations provide interactive environments in which students learn through scientist-like exploration and experimentation. They emphasize the connections between real life phenomena and the underlying science, make the invisible visible, and include the visual models that experts use to aid their thinking. In this talk, we discuss several PhET chemistry simulations and highlight how they may be used in classroom, lecture, and laboratory environments to effectively enhance student learning and engagement.