Using PhET simulations in the physics first classroom: an alternative to traditional laboratories and teaching styles
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At the heart of every high school science course are laboratory activities. Through these activities, students interact with the course content in a way that provides meaningful actions to add to their overall learning experience. However, at times, the content in physics courses becomes difficult to replicate in a typical high school laboratory. By using PhET Interactive Simulations, teachers around the world are able to add hundreds of new learning opportunities to their classrooms in just a few clicks of a mouse. The simulations can be an effective way to provide high-level physics instruction to a diverse population of students. Using two particular PhET simulations (The Collision Lab and Masses and Springs), it was shown how simulations can not only take the place of some laboratory activities, but enhance the ability for students to achieve learning outcomes.