Simulations and computer modeling



Students use GeoGebra to construct a simulation to plot graphs for a body with constant acceleration.

PhET moving man

This one isn't HTML5 yet so can't be embedded

Open the simulation below and play with the controls under the "charts" tab.


Students can plot graphs of motion for a variety of situations.


Video analysis is an excellent way of connecting graphs to motion.

PhET Projectile motion

Very easy to use but not very revealing.


Or get the students to make their own based on the equations of motion.

Excel iterative model

It's possible to make animations in Excel using sliders.

Forces and momentum


In Algodoo you can show forces.

PhET Forces and motion

This one gets across the basic idea.


Collisions work well in Algodoo.

as does circular motion

Rigid body mechanics


You can add axles and apply torques. Algodoo also calculates moment of inertia for complex shapes.

PhET Balancing act

Test your calculation

Galilean and special relativity


My favourite GeoGebra simulation of a space time diagram. I made this one but I get my students to make their own.

Work energy and power

PhET Energy skate park
A bit of fun but gets across the basics.

Thermal energy transfers

Excel iterative model

Models the heating of a kettle including heat loss.

Greenhouse effect

PhET Black body spectrum

See how the peak changes with temperature.

PhET Greenhouse effect

Not good if you're colour blind, not HTML5 either.

Gas laws

PhET Gas properties

This one is great....


But much better to build your own so you understand the assumptions.



The adiabatic transformations are particularly difficult to draw by hand (examiners take note).


So are Carnot cycles.

Current and circuits

PhET Battery resistor circuit

I love the fairies doing all the work (sorry cropped sloppily).

PhET circuit construction kit

This is good but looks a bit childish.

Paul Falstad circuit simulator

This one is more serious and versatile.

Simple harmonic motion


Good to start with a bit of video analysis


Reveals the forces.

Excel iterative model

Show that if the acceleration is proportional to the displacement but in the opposite direction sinusiodal motion results.

PhET Masses and springs

This one is great...

PhET pendulum lab

So is this.


See how the equation is related to the motion.

Wave model 

PhET Wave on a string

A great introduction to waves. I love the open window.

PhET Wave interference

Or this one for 2D waves

Falstad ripple tank

This is incredibly versatile, a must have.


Build your own to show how phase difference between oscillators gives a wave (just showing off with this 3D version).


Demonstrates how horizontal displacement leads to a longitudinal wave.

Show how the air molecules really behave.

Wave phenomena


Huygens' construction gives refraction.

Adding waves from 2 sources.


Two slit interference with diffraction.


Wavelets add to give diffraction pattern.

Standing waves and resonance


Waves in a pipe. There is an open one too.


Build a resonating system.

Doppler Effect

Falstad ripple tank

Can vary velocity of source.


Useful to show how the equations are derived.

Gravitational fields

Excel model

It is possible to show how Kepler's 3 laws are a consequence of Newton's law but it's not easy.


Masses can be sent into orbit with G conveniently set to 1. Can also measure gravitational PE. Add air resistance and the mass spirals in.

Electric and magnetic fields


You can make G negative to get repulsive force and pretend gravity is electric force between charges

PhET Charges and Fields

This is great for visualising field lines and equipotentials.

Explore the field inside a hollow conductor. Doesn't work that well as only 6 charges on surface.

Motion of a charge in a B field


In this one you can get the charges to follow a helical path.


PhET Faradays Law

Lot's you can do with this one.

A simple rotating coil.

Structure of the atom


Plot Bohr orbits.

Plot Bohr energy levels

PhET light and molecules
Investigate the way light interacts with matter

Quantum Physics

PhET Photoelectric effect

A classic but not HTML5.

Radioactive decay

Excel model

Uses the random function to model decay.



There are lots of good resources for nuclear physics but none are HTML5

Fusion and the Stars

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