Free Math and Science Study Aids

by blackspanielgallery

Finding free math and science study aids can be invaluable when a student is learning, especially when the learning is not in a traditional setting.

Whether it is for the unusual situation of schools being formally closed, a home school situation, or just students needing extra help, Phet simulators are quite informative. These math and science study aids are available online, and they can be accessed and used at no cost. They are ideal replacements for manipulatives when it is not possible to obtain manipulatives.

Not every student learns the same. Some can read and analyze a book and do fine. Others are visual learners, and must see, or even handle, something to understand a problem. This is a way to reach the visual learner, and even those who must interact with the problem.

First Register

While these are free for students to use, they do require registration.  I am uncertain why, but it probably has to do with keeping track of how often they are used for a grant that paid for them. 


Find Phet simulators by searching for Phet simulations earth science, Phet simulations physics, Phet simulations chemistry, Phet simulations biology, or Phet simulations math.


Unfortunately, once I registered, I was able to use only those from the same source.  It seems several sources are involved with creating Phet simulations.  Of course, you can register for as many sources as you like.


Saturn Mug

Image from NASA in Public Domain on Zazzle Mug

Jupiter Mug

Image from NASA in Public Domain on Coffee Mug

Using a Phet

Once you select a Phet, and verify it is safe to use, you will see a triangle much like a video has.  In some cases, you might have to select from several options before getting to the triangle. 


Once you start the Phet, you might have several things you can change.  Just try to alter values, move pieces, and so on.  After a few minutes you will have an insight into how the Phet works. 


Many Phets have documents, or charts, designed to conduct an experiment.  Teachers share assignments that they have designed and used.  These documents are to be read before beginning, and are in separate files.


In my case, I had to quickly move college physical science classes online due to the college going online as an emergency approach.  I needed physics experiments that suited college level classes.  I assure you these Phets work fine for lower level classes.  To meet my specific needs, I looked at what the capabilities of each selected Phet has, and I wrote my own experiment from that. 


For parents helping students learn, or for students, I recommend that you use what is available.  But do take time to learn what you can change, and what happens when you start an experiment, or solve a problem, with a Phet.


What Is Covered?

Well, there are Phet simulations for earth science, physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics.  They cover a wide range of levels, and many may be right for lower grades.  You must look, and do not get discouraged.  Not every simulator is acceptable for every class.


The reward is to see what happens when you make changes. 


And, these can be used for fun activities.


This article contains links to affiliate programs and Adsense advertising.  These must use cookies to allow for proper crediting. As a Zazzle, a Viglink, and an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


The introduction image is our own Zazzle product using a NASA public domain image..

Updated: 04/24/2020, blackspanielgallery
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blackspanielgallery on 11/12/2020

Teaching has changed vastly. Many changes dilute education, such as the student is now considered a customer with a right to complain about not getting a high grade. This leads to grade inflation, or the faculty member who keeps the course credible can be in trouble with the administration. Of curse, this is a function of the institution. I hope others are not yielding to pressure. Another thing is use of groups, and one department chair actually said at a faculty meeting the purpose is a strong student will work for the A and bring the rest of the group along, which is a way of "justifying" passing the lazy students.

DerdriuMarriner on 11/12/2020

blackspanielgallery, Thank you for the practical information and product lines: in particular, I like the Jupiter and Saturn mugs (although I'd like even more a mug with my favorite planet outside Earth, Uranus).
Have you found the learning style changing throughout your teaching career? An environmental education course that I took indicated that research and studies suggest changes toward more interactive methods such as the handling that you mention alongside visual learning.

blackspanielgallery on 04/26/2020

Here most schools went online, but there is no one site that I am aware of. Education is left to the states, so what and how things are available is varied. In my area the public schools are not all good, so parochial schools run by the Catholic Church, schools run by some other denominations, and even private schools are easily found, with each having its own material for online, if it went that way. So we have no one link.
One problem we must recognize is time available. Families with multiple children may not have enough computers for all, so real time interaction is not something we can expect of each child. Some schools are trying real time interaction, even at the college, but with attendance problems due to computers being used for other things, such as parents working from home and for siblings' education. And not everyone can afford internet service, so a national link would not work here.

Veronica on 04/26/2020

Ty for this article. My grandson will be particularly interested in the space posters that you highlight.
May I recommend for home learning, BBC is doing lessons on all topics to all school age children

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