Five Fun Ways To Teach Physics Online


Physics can be a tricky subject to teach online. How can you optimize your online course so that your students will have fun learning physics?  This article will show you how.

Which are the most popular five fun ways to teach physics online? The most popular five fun ways to teach physics online are:

  • Interactive Simulations
  • Video Examples
  • Online Whiteboards
  • Animations
  • Applied Physics

Now you know what the most popular five fun ways to teach physics online are. Let’s take an in-depth look at every method available.

Interactive Simulations

When we are trying to teach Physics online, we generally do this with analogy or through simulations.  There are many advantages when conducting interactive simulations during online physics courses. 

Unlike with a whiteboard you can have code behind your simulation that emulates the real work through the calculations the students will learn.  We can also quickly reset and change the scenario whenever we want to as students ask questions.  This process is much quicker than traditional methods.

The most popular interactive simulation platforms available online are:

  • ScienceKids
  • PhET Colorado
  • Physics Classroom

All the above-mentioned platforms contain a wide variety of interactive simulations. The teachers can adapt the experiments to their students’ needs.

Let us review each of these websites and the tools they provide so you have a better understanding of what is available for free to you.

Science Kids

https://www.sciencekids.co.nz/physics.html

Science Kids is an educational website containing resources for different subjects. It is designed for K-12 kids. However, its experiments can be successfully used for university-level learning.

Its ‘Physics’ section contains a lot of different activities that help the students to understand different scenarios. These activities include:

  • Experiments
  • Videos
  • Games
  • Images
  • Facts
  • Projects
  • And more

This platform is commonly used by online physics teachers thanks to the various resources available. One of the most important advantages of the ScienceKids website is that all its content is free for anyone. That means that the students can refer to the activities available on this website without having to pay additional fees or subscriptions.

PhET Colorado

https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulations/category/physics

The University of Colorado has an advanced eLearning platform. This website is available not only for its students but also for other students that want to learn from around the world.

The educators that are teaching physics online can use the resources provided for free on this educational platform. The resources include different simulations in all the areas related to physics. Among its physics-related subcategories, the most noteworthy are:

  • Motion
  • Sound & Waves
  • Heat & Thermo
  • Electricity, Magnets & Circuits
  • Light

Physics Classroom

https://www.physicsclassroom.com/

This website while not as flashy as the first two still has some useful models and simulations you can use for free in your classroom.

The categories of simulations are:

  • Physics Interactive
  • Concept Builders
  • Multimedia Physics Studios
  • Teacher Toolkits
  • And more

It is commonly used for high-school and older students. However, the resources available in the Teacher Toolkit can be successfully used for teaching any K-12 student.

Video Examples

With the availability of mobile phone cameras every teacher can purchase a cheap stand for their mobile phone and record experiments for students to either replicate or understand.  Some more adventurous teachers may use a Go Pro or equivalent to film themselves acting out certain scenarios that will engage the students even more.

For the less adventurous you could record a screen cast of your computer desktop of you completing and action and publish that for your students as well.

Some free Screen Casting Software is:

  • CamStudio
  • Active Presenter (free edition)
  • OBS Studio

You can add annotation, pictures, voice-overs, as well as videos. You can overlap a talking head of you speaking in one corner of the screen as well for a better video and use a green screen or software that does the same thing to do that as well.

One of the main advantages of this type of training content is that the students can watch them at their own pace. If they do not understand the experiment during the first session, they can always watch the video material again and get a better understanding.

Online Whiteboards

Having an online whiteboard that supports your physics course is very useful. Graphs, drawings, and sketches can be materialized instantly for students in live online classrooms.

There are numerous online whiteboards used for teaching different subjects. Yet, the most popular online whiteboard apps for teaching physics are:

  • Scribblar
  • Ziteboard

Scribblar

This tool is among the most popular ones available on the Internet. It has an easy to use interface and is a preferred option of both maths and physics teachers alike.

One major advantage of this online whiteboard is related to its chat. It provides live video-audio chat for free. It also allows multiple users to connect and to work at the same time on the whiteboard.

So not only can you show students a physics problem but you can gauge their responses through body language and also get them to explain it back to you showing their example on the white board as well.

Ziteboard

This is probably the most commonly used online whiteboard. Its main advantage compared to other software solutions is the fact that it uses the simplest interface available on the Internet.

It can be used for free, yet it also has a premium membership that opens up the rest of the tools on the whiteboard and allows for integration to other products like Google Classroom.

One very important function of Ziteboard is the fact that the whiteboard can be exported in multiple formats after the class ends. This way, you and your students can save what you have been working on during the online class.

For reviews of other online whiteboards used for technical subjects check out this article below.

ARTICLE: The 7 Best Whiteboards For Teaching Maths Online

Animations

Animations are a great method to teach physics online. There are heap of tools online that allow for easy creation of animations without having to be an artist.  You can add some characters into your training experience which is more engaging for younger audiences.

Using software solutions to create animations, the teacher can demonstrate certain concepts of physics. If you can not find a premade example on the internet or the ones out there are poor quality then you can make them yourself.

Some of the tools you can use to create animations are:

Each of them has training on their websites as well as multiple example and tutorials can be found on YouTube to teach you how to use these tools.

Applied Physics

Physics has a lot of applications in our everyday life. Providing applied physics examples the students can complete at home on their own or with a parent can enrich the learning experience.  If a parent is also required, it helps to get the parents involved and for them to take ownership of their children’s learning.

Making these tasks fun for both the parent and the student and at the same time cheap is quite simple.  Waterballons and gravity are always a good mix.  The parent taking their child for a drive to show basic inertia.  And many other examples they can then sit down and try to explain later are all great examples.

Here is another article that discusses some more options for you:

https://studiousguy.com/10-examples-of-physics-in-everyday-life/

Glen Brown

I am a Technical Trainer and Manager with over 20 years experience in IT, Education and Business. I have multiple qualifications on each topic including post graduate qualifications. I have a passion for sharing knowledge and using technology to do this. If you would like to know more about me please see the about page of the website.

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