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Physics - equipment, experiments, etc.

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After reading the thread on how to make Physics fun, I began to research. Since I'm stuck on the couch with a bum ankle, I got a lot done! What had frustrated me was not having a master list connecting Physics topics with on-line experiments, simulations, and lectures. I also found (and purchased) a number of items from Home Science Tools and Educational Innovations. Having just completed my master list, I wanted to share it in hopes that others would have specific information relating to any of the individual concepts/focus areas. Obviously there are some gaps on my list as far as activities/kits go; I'd love to fill in those gaps!


PHET is from this site: http://phet.colorado...mulations��Home Science Tools kits/equipment is designated as HST; Educational Innovations as EI


Disclaimer: I have NOT tried all of the PHET simulations! Some of them are geared toward a much younger interest/grade level, however since I am planning Physics/Physical Science for a huge range of ages/grades, I put everything in (plus my older dc do enjoy some of the sims designed for younger dc :) ). I grouped Light/Color and Electricity activities/kits together since some kits coincide with more than one topic.


If this has already been done/posted, don't tell me because I would probably cry. So many movies I could have watched instead of doing all this work... :)


Oh, I did not include typical Physics topics such as Thermodynamics as I based my list on the Conceptual Physics suggestions for how to get through an entire year without covering every topic. Anyone is welcome to add their own resource list for the concepts not included below.


AAARRGGGHHH!!! I've tried posting this 3 times and it messes up my "chart" every time!! Anyone want to help me figure this out? I had it nicely spaced and readable...nothing like you see here! I don't have time for this nonsense! OK, italics is PHET sims, bold is Activity/Kit. At least until I figure out how to post this in a better form.



TOPIC Khan Lecture PHET Activity/Kit Other


Linear Motion Yes Forces in 1-dimension -----

Projectile Motion Yes Projectile Motion ----

1st Law: Inertia Yes (3) Inertia Kit (HST)

2nd Law: Force/Accel. Yes (5+) Maze Game; Moving Man

3rd Law: Action/Reaction Yes (1) Forces & Motion

Momentum Yes (10) Pendulum Lab Newton's Cradle (HST/Amazon)

Energy Yes (10) The Ramp (2)

Circular Motion Yes (3) Ladybug Motion 2D ROMP (HST)

Center of Gravity Yes Balancing Act Balancing birds/ CoG kits (2) (EI)

Rotational Mechanics Yes Ladybug Revolution

Universal Gravitation Yes

Gravitational Interactions Yes

Satellite Motion Yes

Space & Time Yes


Vibrations/Waves Yes (30) Wave Interference tuning fork set, sound

Wave on a String measurement kit; slinky (HST)

Sound Yes Sound


Light/Color Yes (30) Bending Light Disappearing beaker, prisms,

Reflection/refraction Blackbody Spectrum Liquid light demo kit, filter kit,

Lenses Color Vision magic wire, diffraction materials,

Diffraction optical illusion card deck, polarizing

filter kit, spectroscope+night card



Electrostatics Yes (2) Balloons & Static Elec. Electroscope (HST)

Electric fields Yes Ohm's Law; Battery Static Electricity Kit (HST)

Electric current Yes Voltage; Battery Circuit; Snap circuits (HST/Amazon)

Electric circuits Yes Conductivity; Electric

Field Hockey


Magnetism Yes (12) Magnet & Compass Any good magnet kit

Electromagnetism Yes Radio Waves & Electric

Fields; Magnets &


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Here's a site I used for algebra based physics labs. I've done most of the ones on this site. I pulled from other sources to cover areas not covered by these labs. I've also done many of the labs/demos by HST.


Paul Hewitt's Conceptual Physics Labs:



I also love The Magnet Book by Shar Levine and Leslie Johnstone for younger kids.


Hope this helps someone.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was poking around looking for something to help ds over a hump and found a couple resources to share. I know this is an older thread but I'd rather tag on than start a new one.


SparkNotes SAT Physics There is a drop down menu to let you pick different "chapters" for specific topics, like vectors or kinematics or waves. It is under the blue bar with the chapter heading. This had an explanation of the topic we needed that was both focused and detailed.


The Physics Classroom Also had a good explanation of the topic we were stuck on. There are free pdf worksheetsand a solutions manual CD is available ($25).

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  • 3 weeks later...

I wanted to toss out a "new to me" science gear provider. Artec. They were at the Midwest Homeschool Convention and I spent some time chatting with their reps (two 20 something Japanese guys who were rather goggle eyed at the convention).


I picked up their catalog and was really impressed. Not only do they carry a lot of the parts that you would find sold by other science material vendors (several of which seem to be Artec's customers), but they also had a range of experiment equipment that was far less durable, designed to demonstrate the principle once or twice before being tossed. Many had paper or lightweight plastic construction. It would be the opposite idea of collecting quality lab equipment. Instead you could spend less and be able to try a lot of different concepts out. (Do pay close attention to the size of each item. Some of them are rather small.)


They had a convention special on several of their paper science craft items. DS #3 put together a small obstacle avoiding "robot". The directions were clear enough for a 10 yo to follow. It required gluing paper and wiring up a couple of motors to a battery source. I actually liked the fact that he had to do the wiring and not just pull out a complete gizmo from a box.

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