I’m loving this… Virtual Circuit Builder!

With DISTANCE LEARNING I wasn’t able to do the hands-on electrical circuits lab with my wonderful 8th graders so I had to come up with another way for them to learn the basics. A web search brought me to this really cool VIRTUAL circuit builder that does NOT use Flash – which is awesome because Flash is no longer supported by Chrome.

Here’s a brief video of how this Phet interactive works.

Pros:

  • easy to learn how to use
  • can build series and parallel circuits
  • there are a few different components to experiment with such as the light bulb, resistor and switch
  • can experiment with how adding and subtracting components affects resistance.
  • multiples of all of the components can be added, such as adding two batteries to increase voltage
  • the anmeter is fun to play with!
  • you can view the parts of the circuits in symbols to practice with engineering pictograms

Cons:

  • There are no particular directions so if you want to be sure your students really learn what you want you’ll need to come up directions for them.

Don’t have time to design an activity? No sweat – use mine!

Internet Activity:  Build Circuits Virtually!

My worksheet guides students in
constructing series and parallel
circuits using the Phet interactive.
No prep required – just have
students watch the video above so
they know how to attach/detach
components.

Unit Confusion SOLVED!

Many of my students struggle with solving basic physics formula, and most of all, in understanding which units go with the answer to the question being asked.

Is this familiar to you… The question ask for “HOW LONG does it take for the skateboarder to roll 25 meters while moving at 2 m/s?”, and the student answers 12.5 m/s!!!

Students MIGHT use the right equation (time = speed/distance) , but the answer nearly NEVER has the right units – the question is about time or distance and no matter what the student puts “m/s” as part of the answer! Mind boggling to one degree, but this is all new for them and it’s normal to have trouble applying old skills to new problems.

PROBLEM (nearly) SOLVED!

speed square

The first formula is use in my 8th grade physics class is the equation for speed (or velocity). I have found that by guiding my students through the process of choosing the formula, writing the formula, and forcing them to pay attention to the units involved through this graphic organizer, greatly improves their success!

See MORE about SPEED SQUARES here.

speed squares cover

I also have created DENSITY SQUARES and I’m working on making resources for all of the formulas I use in my science classes.