AAPT eMentoring Webinar – Using Interactive Simulations in the Classroom

Category : High School, Middle School, Physics, Uncategorized · No Comments · by January 13, 2015

AAPT eMentoring Logo

Welcome to the AAPT eMentoring program members!

The following is an outline of the presentation given by Chris Bruce on Monday, January 12th for the AAPT eMentoring program:

Talking Points for AAPT WebEx on Using Simulations in Physics Class



Good evening!

My name is Chris Bruce. I teach High School Physics, AP Physics C, and AP Biology in Illinois, and am a registered developer with Apple and Google. I teach in a team of five physics teachers, and what you see here is a team effort.



3 years ago, our district decided on iPads, which meant no PhET, no MOPs, and no Java simulations. At the time, our technology coordinator said “With this new HTML5 technology, pretty soon someone will make all the tools you need.” That someone was us.

  • The hard way to build apps: Objective C -> “Step2Step Physics” on iTunes
  • The easy way to build apps: HTML5-> www.simbucket.com



www.simbucket.com -> “Go to the sims!”

  1. Pull out cell phone, click on “Accelerometer”, then drop your phone. It should read -10 m/s^2. We used this in the elevator, calculating sliding friction, and in circular motion.
  2. Go back to simulations, click on “Aluminum Can Polarization”. Try it out.
  3. Go back to simulations, click on “Electrostatics Landscapes Lab”. Open simulation on phone, open the “PDF version of lab” on computer.
  4. Go back to simulations, click on “Racetrack”. Try “Hard” in less than 20 moves.


4 ways to use simulations:

  1. Data collection – “Accelerometer”, Rebecca Vieyra’s work
  2. Concept demonstration – “Aluminum Can Polarization”
  3. Lab replacement – “Electrostatics Landscapes Lab”
  4. Online problem/game – “Racetrack” – Scores/completion are tracked


Requirements for each simulation:

  1. Works on both touchscreen and mouse/keyboard
  2. Runs at a reasonable speed on all devices
  3. Kid-friendly and richly interactive
  4. Created and published in <20 hours (we are teachers, after all!) -> all of our physics teachers can contribute, even if they have no programming experience

-> Construct 2! (Show Construct 2)


Switch to Windows desktop to show Construct 2 in action.


Other free HTML5 resources:

PhET HTML5 simulations (phet.colorado.edu

The Physics Classroom (www.physicsclassroom.com)





Simulation Title Automatically Shows “Completion” with Stars or Similar Worksheet Available on www.simbucket.com Worksheet Available on www.physicsclassroom.com
Graphs and Ramps X
Vector Addition
Vector Guessing Game
Projectile Simulator X
The Monkey and The Zookeeper
Atwood Lab
Rocket Sled X
Skydiving X
Roller Coaster Model X
Angular Acceleration Lab X
Momentum and Impulse
Collision Carts Lab X X
Keiki’s Impulse Game X
Circular Motion and Gravity
Racetrack X
Satellite Motion X
Galaxy Simulator
Orbital Motion X
Gravitation X
Aluminum Can Polarization
Charging Game X
Coulomb’s Law
Electric Field Game X
Charges and Fields
Electrostatics Landscapes Lab X
Water Simulation
DC Circuit Builder 3 Labs
Waves and Sound
Mass on a Spring
Simple Wave Simulator
Standing Wave Simulator
Slinky Lab
Least Time Principle X
Lenses and Mirrors Lab
Refraction X
Biology / Chemistry
Browns Eat Greens
Dissolving a Salt Crystal
Water Simulation


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