Science Simulations

There are many science simulations available on the web. These are very useful for displaying things that you can not see such as molecules, or for simulating physical situations that you can not bring into the lab. Sometimes the actual simulation can be an experiment. Simulations do not promote better learning by themselves, but when used with properly designed exploration labs, they can be very effective. Students generally like simulations, which is certainly a plus when using them.

Other simulations can be found at many sites on the web.  Unfortunately the most comprehensive listing of simulations has been removed from the web.


Warning:  Some simulations work well with various combinations of browsers and JAVA, and some do not.  With version 7 of Java it may be necessary to set the Java security to medium, and the simulations may not work if installed on the local computer.

Click here to download John Clement’s simulations.

Minds•On Physics - Exploration to accompany the MOP textbooks. These are animated simulations of some of the questions and the readings in the book. (physlet)

Tools for Scientific Thinking Motion Simulations - Plot graphs of position, velocity, acceleration vs time as various objects move.  These are designed to be explorations and can simulate an apparatus in Tools for Scientific Thinking and Real Time Physics Labs. (physlet)

It is possible for you to make your own simulations. Physlets by W. Christian and M. Belloni is a do it yourself manual for designing physical science Java applets. The possible simulations cover most of physics, and some can be used for chemistry. In addition it gives references and good advice on how to use simulations in the classroom. It is published by Prentice Hall.  The authors are now moving on to EJS or Easy Java Simulations to make browser independent simulations.

The following list is a set of simulations that I consider to be useful.

Many simulations for physics, math, and chemistry designed by the PER group at U. Colorado.  They have used extensive research in designing their simulations so they are highly recommended.


Many simulations.  These are good simulations, but they often include some theory on the web page which is undesirable for exploration.


Virtual Physics Laboratory


Atomic Models

Rutherford Model
Thomson Model


            Electrostatic Explorations (physlet)



Newtonian Cannon - Orbits around earth from a mountain
Projectile Motion – Exploration - Vx, Vy, Mass, Wind resistance may be varied (physlet)

Molecular Models

Atmospheric Pressure
Brownian Motion exploration (physlet)
Ideal Gas I exploration (physlet)
Nonideal gas exploration (physlet)
Solid exploration (physlet)
Osmosis exploration (physlet)
Specific Heat
One Atom Gas



Vector Calculator


Mixing Colors - Primary colors of light modified version supplied by author
Colored light or paint mixing – Any colors. (physlet)

Reflected Colors – How colored objects look in various lighting. (Physlet)


Gravitational force of Planets


Large Digital Clock