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Abstract Title: Towards research-based strategies for using PhET simulations in middle school physical science classes
Abstract: The PhET Interactive Simulations Project at the University of Colorado Boulder has a new effort to develop and research simulations for middle school physical science. PhET sims have typically been aimed at the college level, but many sims are used in middle school classrooms. Thus, we aim to study the use of PhET sims at this level more systematically, particularly investigating elements of effective sim design and classroom implementation. Over the past year, we have collected observations of middle school students and teachers using PhET simulations. These observations include more than 80 student interviews as well as classroom implementations from 5th-8th grade by 4 different teachers. In this paper, we present general findings from these observations that provide insight for effective use of simulations in middle school classrooms, propose several strategies for designing and implementing simulation activities, and give concrete examples of activities where these strategies have been used effectively.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Katherine Perkins
University of Colorado, Boulder
UCB 390
Boulder, CO 80309
Phone: 303-492-6714
and Co-Presenter(s)
Emily Moore, University of Colorado - Boulder
Noah Podolefsky, University of Colorado - Boulder
Kelly Lancaster, University of Colorado - Boulder
Christine Denison, Peak Preparatory