PhET on Voice of America

by Stephanie Chasteen on February 19, 2010

Our PhET interactive simulation project was just featured on Voice of America. It’s a nice short piece that gives information about PhET and why it’s helpful for student learning. Kudos to my boss Kathy Perkins who was succinct and clear — not always an easy task.

Below is the text from the VOA site

And here is the audio MP3

Website features interactive science experiments

You won’t need a one-gig internet connection to check out our Website of the Week.

This time it’s an educational site where principles of physics are illustrated with interactive animated experiments that you can perform on your own computer.

PERKINS: “The PhET website is a collection of 85 simulations for teaching and learning science. So our main goal is to help students better understand the science of the world around them, but instead of telling students how something works, our simulations let them discover important science concepts for themselves and really learn and engage through scientist-like exploration.”

Kathy Perkins is co-director of the Physics Education Technology, or PhET Interactive Simulations website, at

Despite the name, the site also includes animated simulations in biology, chemistry, and other disciplines, as well as physics. You can build your own solar system, model the hydrogen atom, or explore the properties of a gas as you change its temperature and other variables.

Another simulation allows you to design and modify a simple electrical circuit.

PERKINS: So when you open up, you can drag out wires and batteries and bulbs. And as you connect them, as soon as you complete a circuit, you’ll see the light bulb light up and the electrons shown in the wires circulate around the circuit.”

The simulations look like entertainment, but Perkins says the design of each has been tested for its educational value and can be used in the classroom, or you can just run the sims yourself and learn by doing online at, or get the link from our site,

MUSIC: Michel Petrucciani – “Laws Of Physics”

You’re listening to Our World, the weekly science and technology magazine from VOA News. I’m Art Chimes in Washington.

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