I’ve always loved the range of interactive science simulations from PhET. The only problem with them was that they used Java, and so they could be problematic to get working in some schools, and they couldn’t be used on iPads and suchlike. Recently they have been converting some of their resources into HTML 5 versions, which makes them a whole lot more accessible. But one of my “go-to” resources, the Circuit Construction Kit, was still only available as in Java. Until now.
The good news from PhET is that their Circuit Construction kit is now available as an HTML 5 resource. This means it will now happily run on an iPad, or schools where Java is blocked as a security risk.
The simulation lets you experiment with an electronics kit. You can build circuits with batteries, resistors, light bulbs, and switches. Determine if everyday objects are conductors or insulators, and take measurements with an ammeter and voltmeter. View the circuit as a schematic diagram, or switch to a lifelike view.
The PhET page also includes teacher tips as well as ready made activities provided by other teachers.
It’s a great resource that I used to use in my lessons quite a bit, when the Java would let me. Now it’s HTML 5 it’s a whole lot easier to access.
This shouldn’t replace doing the experiments with real electricity kit. But it does let you carry out quick experiments when you don’t have the kit available, or for when you want to do something a little more extreme. Say to see what happens if you wire up 10 batteries to a single bulb for example, but doing it safely!
You can access the Circuit Construction Kit from PhET here. There’s also a virtual lab version which only uses inline ammeters.