1. Kathy Perkins
  2. Director
  3. Teaching and Learning Algebraic Thinking Across the Middle Grades: A Research-based Approach Using PhET Interactive Simulations
  4. https://phet.colorado.edu/
  5. PhET Interactive Simulations, University of Colorado Boulder
  1. Sebnem Atabas
  2. Graduate Student
  3. Teaching and Learning Algebraic Thinking Across the Middle Grades: A Research-based Approach Using PhET Interactive Simulations
  4. https://phet.colorado.edu/
  5. Florida State University
  1. Jeff Bush
  2. Graduate Research Assistant
  3. Teaching and Learning Algebraic Thinking Across the Middle Grades: A Research-based Approach Using PhET Interactive Simulations
  4. https://phet.colorado.edu/
  5. University of Colorado Boulder
  1. Karina Hensberry
  2. https://works.bepress.com/karina-hensberry/
  3. Assistant Professor
  4. Teaching and Learning Algebraic Thinking Across the Middle Grades: A Research-based Approach Using PhET Interactive Simulations
  5. https://phet.colorado.edu/
  6. University of South Florida
  1. Amanda McGarry
  2. Math Specialist
  3. Teaching and Learning Algebraic Thinking Across the Middle Grades: A Research-based Approach Using PhET Interactive Simulations
  4. https://phet.colorado.edu/
  5. PhET Interactive Simulations, University of Colorado Boulder
  1. Corinne Singleton
  2. Senior Education Researcher
  3. Teaching and Learning Algebraic Thinking Across the Middle Grades: A Research-based Approach Using PhET Interactive Simulations
  4. https://phet.colorado.edu/
  5. SRI International
  1. David Webb
  2. http://www.colorado.edu/education/david-c-webb
  3. Associate Professor & Interim Assoc Dean for Research
  4. Teaching and Learning Algebraic Thinking Across the Middle Grades: A Research-based Approach Using PhET Interactive Simulations
  5. https://phet.colorado.edu/
  6. University of Colorado Boulder
  1. Ian Whitacre
  2. Associate Professor
  3. Teaching and Learning Algebraic Thinking Across the Middle Grades: A Research-based Approach Using PhET Interactive Simulations
  4. https://phet.colorado.edu/
  5. Florida State University
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Kathy Perkins

    Kathy Perkins

    Lead Presenter
    May 12, 2019 | 08:40 p.m.

    Welcome! We are excited to share highlights from our progress on designing, developing, and studying interactive simulations as a tool for transforming teaching and learning in mathematics.

    We look forward to a week of discussion around simulation design, classroom use, research ideas and findings, partnerships, synergies, challenges, concerns, future directions, and more!

    And if you would like to explore or use the new math simulations for yourself, they are all freely available at the PhET website. Here is the link to the math collection, where you will also find teacher resources for each simulation, including teacher tips, video primers, and PhET and teacher-contributed lessons:
    https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulations/category/math

    We'd love to hear your thoughts, questions, and suggestions on our work, so please join us in the discussion below! 

  • May 13, 2019 | 11:07 a.m.

    The Phet simulations are a fantastic resource! This is clearly a powerful use of technology that can transform STEM classrooms into more interactive spaces.

    One thing I wonder is what you see as the benefits of using these digital resources for exploring mathematical relationships? Is there a steep learning curve for teachers to change their practices while using simulations so as to not re-create the teacher-centered vision you describe in the business as usual condition?

    I heard Ian reference math practices. That makes me wonder something else: In your research design how did you find a way to measure the engagement in practices? Did you create a coding scheme based on the CCSS Math practices, or did you use different set of initial practices for your coding? 

    I am deeply impressed with your library of simulations!

     
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    Karina Hensberry
    Kathy Perkins
    Ian Whitacre
    Jeff Bush
  • Icon for: Kathy Perkins

    Kathy Perkins

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 01:21 p.m.

    Thanks for taking a look at our project and for your questions. 

    In the design of the simulations, we focus on using multiple representations and creating a strong interaction-feedback tie where the dynamic visualizations and representations change immediately in response to student interaction, enabling them to identify relationships and patterns. And in a number of the simulations, we have done internal scaffolding from more concrete contexts - such as coins - to the more abstract - such as combining terms in expressions - to help bridge students as they explore mathematical relationships. 

    Regarding the teachers use, one of Ian's studies under this grant examined the various ways teachers position a simulation within the lesson, showing five different sim and student roles that emerged across teacher lessons. Paper is "Orchestrating Mathematics Lessons with Interactive Simulations: Exploring Roles in the Classroom". Another study looked at one teacher and found two different sets of norms - with the sim enabling the teacher to create a more student-centered environment, compared to BAU. In interviews, its clear that the teacher values and desires a student-centered environment, but finds it more challenging to create without the sim. The sims are specifically designed to be flexible tools, that can meet teachers where they are at in the pedagogy and then through PD help them shift to more student-centered pedagogy.

    We have used a couple of different ways of coding the classroom videos (MQI and IQA protocols) - I'll ask Ian and David to elaborate. 

  • Icon for: Ian Whitacre

    Ian Whitacre

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 07:47 p.m.

    Hi, Bill!

    As Kathy mentioned, we have used MQI and IQA to compare the quality of sim vs. non-sim lessons. If you're especially interested in that, I'd be glad discuss it with you. MQI is more comprehensive but also much more difficult and time consuming. IQA is narrower and not as clearly aligned with the SMPs, but the coding is much friendlier.

    In the study that I mentioned, we coded for indicators of social and sociomathematical norms. I mentioned "math practices" in the interview as a shorthand way of describing the kind of mathematical activity that took place in the sim lessons. In that study, focusing on one teacher's classroom, we coded specifically for the teacher's role (evaluator vs. facilitator), student agency (disciplinary vs. conceptual), and for specifically mathematical obligations (i.e., indicators of sociomathematical norms). Cobb, Gresalfi, and Hodge (2009) provided the inspiration for this approach. 

  • May 13, 2019 | 02:22 p.m.

    I use the PhET simulations in my doctoral class on theories of learning because the simulations are accessible to people from a wide range of mathematical experiences, have connections to fundamental mathematical ideas, and show how well-designed tools mediate learning opportunities. I really enjoy your simulations. Have you conducted research on adult populations using the PhET simulations?

     
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  • Icon for: Kathy Perkins

    Kathy Perkins

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 02:44 p.m.

    So glad to hear you've been able to use them as a resource in your doctoral class! 

    In science, we have researched the use of PhET simulations with college students. However, we haven't yet conducted research with college students or other adult populations within mathematics. Because of the overlap in the content, I have been encouraging the use of these simulations within developmental math courses with the idea that these tools can provide students who have previously struggled with math with a new way to engage with and learn mathematics. 

    Anecdotally, we have heard positive reports of the use of PhET simulations with adult prisoners (importantly the simulations can be run offline on devices without internet connection) and with non-traditional students in community colleges. We would love to understand more about how the simulations support these adult learners. 

  • Icon for: Karina Hensberry

    Karina Hensberry

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 01:43 p.m.

    Jeffrey, thanks for your question! I have been curious for a long time about how PhET sims might support the development of mathematical content knowledge for teachers. I'm planning some professional development sessions for inservice teachers for next school year, and I'm going to incorporate PhET sims as a way to start piloting some of that work. I have used PhET sims in my master's classes for math and science teachers, and from what I have observed informally, the teachers tend to respond in similar ways as students -- they are highly engaged with the mathematics and ask a lot of questions, then use the sim to help them answer those questions. I'm hopeful that with this tool, we'll not only be impacting teacher practice but their knowledge as well. 

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    Kristine Venneman

    K-12 Teacher
    May 13, 2019 | 03:12 p.m.

    PHET Simulations are my absolute favorite fraction resources in grades 2-5.  I have just begun exploring other simulations and shared science simulations with ALL teachers in our district.  As a math coach for elementary, I cannot thank you enough for these resources!!  

     
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  • Icon for: Kathy Perkins

    Kathy Perkins

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 03:23 p.m.

    Great to hear, and thanks for sharing the simulations will all the teachers in your district! We would love to hear about how your teachers are using these simulations in the classroom, and what supplementary resources would best help you support your teachers use of PhET - more posted sim-based lessons? videos of classroom use? specific coaching resources? other ideas?

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    Nilofer Momin

    K-12 Teacher
    May 13, 2019 | 03:58 p.m.

    It is a great resource specially for ESL students

     
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    Kathy Perkins
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    Nilofer Momin

    K-12 Teacher
    May 13, 2019 | 03:58 p.m.

    It is a great resource specially for ESL students

     
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  • Icon for: Kathy Perkins

    Kathy Perkins

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 05:10 p.m.

    It's great to hear you are finding these resources useful with ESL students! We would love to hear more about how you are implementing the simulations with this population and how the students are responding. 

  • Small default profile

    Cristina Araújo

    K-12 Teacher
    May 14, 2019 | 08:47 a.m.

    Las aplicaciones del simulador Phet son excelentes, permiten introducir a los estudiantes en el estudio de las leyes y conceptos científicos de una forma que la modelización de los fenómenos se hace posible, graduando los diferentes niveles de abstracción que se necesita para la comprensión y aprendizaje genuino de las ciencias. Felicitaciones a todos y todas los que hacen lo posible.

     
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    The Viking

    Guest
    May 14, 2019 | 10:11 a.m.

    I cannot thank you enough for these incredibly vivid and easy to navigate simulations.  I am always excited to see your new math sims!  I use the fraction sims daily... across many grade levels.  I have found them to be inspirational.  I am an elementary mathematics specialist and I have used and shared these resources more than any other on the web. Period. 

     
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  • Icon for: Karina Hensberry

    Karina Hensberry

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 01:46 p.m.

    That is great to hear! I'm curious how you structure your use of the sims -- with students or teachers, and as supplemental tools or as core components of a lesson (or maybe both)? 

  • May 14, 2019 | 10:12 a.m.

    Go PhET!

     
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  • Icon for: Abby Funabiki

    Abby Funabiki

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2019 | 11:57 a.m.

    I absolutely love your team's focus on getting students to take ownership of their learning. And I admire the instructor who says "teach me five things about this tool that I don't already know". It can be difficult for teachers to encourage open-ended exploration and tools and ask students to go beyond them! How do you encourage this type of instruction from your teachers? More as a facilitator than a teacher who controls the process and has all the answers. Is it explicitly addressed in PD?

     
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  • Icon for: Amanda McGarry

    Amanda McGarry

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 01:02 p.m.

    Thank you for your kind words, Abby. I agree that it can be difficult to allow this kind of "open play" that is very student-directed, and we often remind teachers that the entire lesson isn't like that, it is just the first 5 minutes to explore the tool. After that initial exploration, the teacher facilitates the lesson by providing a guiding activity sheet, walking around the room to listen to conversations, pause the class for discussions, and lead a summary discussion. We have some teaching resources on our website for teachers to peruse, but we also run workshops with teachers where they get to experience this lesson format and write their own activities following the research-based guidelines. They then post them to the website for anyone else to download, which further helps to spread the word. We are hoping to revamp some of our resources to be math-specific, as well as succinct enough that someone doesn't need to dedicate a lot of time to reading everything. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for what could work well! 

     
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  • Icon for: Kathy Perkins

    Kathy Perkins

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 01:21 p.m.

    We also see variation in how teachers structure and facilitate the "play" phase of the sim lessons where they are balancing competing priorities of fostering student ideas versus keeping pace for the lesson - written up here: 
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0020739X.2018.1532536?journalCode=tmes20

    We've used this work to inform our teacher PD approaches.  

     
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  • Icon for: Quinn Burke

    Quinn Burke

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2019 | 05:39 p.m.

    Kathy & Ian,

    Really enjoyed this video on PhET simulations--well done!  And I appreciate too the link to the wider math collection, with supplementary materials.  I have been involved with a few school districts who have expressed interest in integrating computational thinking into elementary and middle school science via computational models and simulations.  I wonder are PhET simulations linked to NGSS?  I see Biology, Earth Science, Physics, and Chemistry and wonder if this is a direction the team is heading?

     
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  • Icon for: Kathy Perkins

    Kathy Perkins

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 06:38 p.m.

    Hi Quinn, Great questions. We do have an alignment document between the NGSS and PhET's science simulations - but the way I think about it is that we build PhET simulations to be "NGSS-ready". We add capabilities that enable and support learning disciplinary core ideas through engagement in the practices, etc., but it all depends on how the lesson is designed (the sim PLUS the tasks PLUS the facilitation and setting).

    Back in 2015, we ran one collaborative summer working group with teachers on building NGSS-aligned PhET lessons, and created these materials and guidance. 
    https://phet.colorado.edu/en/contributions/view/3990

    The basic alignment between NGSS and PHET sims is here:
    https://phet.colorado.edu/en/contributions/view/4127 

    I do know that PhET simulations are leveraged in the physics by the Modeling curriculum/community.

    One last thing ...  I love is seeing researchers pick up PhET simulations and use them to extend research and our understanding of student learning in new directions, so I encourage you to explore. You should connect with Jodi Asbell-Clarke at TERC on this specific idea of combining with computational thinking/modeling. She may have some materials that her teachers have created that could be shared with your teachers, using PhET with these sorts of goals.

    Happy to connect if you would like to collaborate.

  • Icon for: Quinn Burke

    Quinn Burke

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2019 | 07:26 p.m.

    thanks much Kathy!  And appreciate this offer -- talked to Jodi a few weeks back and will follow up here.  Great work!

     

     
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  • Icon for: Lisa Miller

    Lisa Miller

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2019 | 11:19 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing your video! I love the PhET simulations.  What challenges have you found in getting the new mathematics simulations used more widely in schools?  It seems that time is often an issue for teachers who are trying to get through the school's provided curriculum.  Have you worked with any curriculum publishers to embed the PhET simulations into their lessons/activities? Thank you.

     
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  • Icon for: Amanda McGarry

    Amanda McGarry

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 11:12 a.m.

    Yes, time is always a factor for teachers! The content we cover is aligned to content being taught in classrooms, so using a sim would simply enhance the teacher's standard lesson. Alternatively, a teacher could replace a textbook lesson with a sim-based lesson to achieve the same learning goals but with more student exploration. 

     

  • Icon for: Perla Myers

    Perla Myers

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2019 | 01:47 p.m.

    Thank you for your video. I just explored the PhET simulations and enjoyed them. There are so many possibilities for using them in explorations. I was wondering about the possibility of taking advantage of these as part of some videogame-like experience for the students that get so involved in videogames.

  • Icon for: Amanda McGarry

    Amanda McGarry

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 11:04 a.m.

    We do find that the simulations offer a natural game-like environment where students are drawn to certain implicit challenges, such as balancing a scale or creating the largest expression. 

  • Small default profile

    امیرمحمد

    Researcher
    May 15, 2019 | 06:13 p.m.

    سلام

    سپاس از مجموعه حرفه ای شما

    کارهای شما بسیار عالی هستند و بنده سعی میکنم در تمام کلاس ها سایت و مجموعه شما را معرفی نمایم تا معلمان و مدرسان بتوانند کلاس درس پویا و جذابی داشته باشند.

    مرسی از پشتیبانی شما از زبان فارسی

    موفق باشید.

  • Icon for: David Webb

    David Webb

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 11:12 a.m.

    Hello Amir, 

    I hope you don't mind me including an English translation of your comment (via Google)

    "Thanks to your professional collection

    Your work is excellent and I try to introduce the site and collection in all classes so teachers and instructors can have a dynamic and attractive classroom.

    Thank you for your support in Persian

    Good luck."

  • May 16, 2019 | 11:49 a.m.

     Hi Kathy et al, 

    I know that there has been research on inclusive adaptations of PHet simulations for diverse students, including those with disabilities (NSF awards #1503439, 1621363  and 1814220). Have findings from that research been integrated into this latest group of simulations, or are there plans for work in the future to make these mathematics simulations accessible to those with disabilities?

     
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  • Icon for: Kathy Perkins

    Kathy Perkins

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 04:05 p.m.

    Hi Catherine, 

    Thank you for your question! Some aspects of the current work will transfer nicely into mathematics (like keyboard navigation of structures that are common across sims), but new research will be needed to really dig into leveraging the affordances of interactive simulations in the context of making math accessible to students with disabilities. Working with students in the disciplinary context is critical to extracting strategies for supporting students to learn that discipline (their interpretation of the auditory descriptions, sound feedback, etc). Simulations also contain new types of elements that require new research advances. This area is led by Dr. Emily Moore, and we see some very powerful opportunities to engage in new research around combining technologies to build on work that has been done previously in this area. It's an exciting possibility that we hope to pursue in the coming years! 

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    Idris Tella

    K-12 Teacher
    May 16, 2019 | 12:46 p.m.

    Phet simulations are a great way for the students to learn. It sometimes more of a problem base learning where students discover the knowledge by themselves through little facilitation from the teacher. The students are always exercited to use the simulations. 

     
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  • Icon for: Kathy Perkins

    Kathy Perkins

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 07:09 p.m.

    Thank you for your comments, Idris! It's great to hear about your use of PhET simulations and the positive response of your students! 

  • Icon for: Jared O'Leary

    Jared O'Leary

    Researcher
    May 16, 2019 | 02:47 p.m.

    I really appreciate this approach and would love to see it used in more subject areas.

     
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  • Icon for: Kathy Perkins

    Kathy Perkins

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 07:07 p.m.

    Hi Jared, Glad you like the simulations. We have simulations in other subjects (physics and chemistry mostly), and we enjoy building collaborations with disciplinary education researchers to explore how this approach and extend learning and advance research in other disciplines or aspects of education. 

  • Icon for: Peter Tierney-Fife

    Peter Tierney-Fife

    Curriculum/Instructional Design Associate
    May 16, 2019 | 10:11 p.m.

    Kathy,

    I am excited about these great math sims and I have enjoyed exploring them—thank you! I have used interactive apps from other sites and developers extensively while teaching in the past, primarily during student inquiry activities, and feel strongly they were engaging and effective for my middle grades students. I have also found working with educators and content developers to create apps, primarily authored in GeoGebra, extremely rewarding. I am especially interested in any thoughts or resources you have related to how learner discourse while using sims and apps to build conceptual understanding may differ from their discourse during related activities without such an interactive digital sim or app. Thank you

     
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  • Icon for: David Webb

    David Webb

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 11:08 a.m.

    Hello Peter,

    Regarding learner discourse with and without technology, from what we have observed in math teachers' classrooms (comparing tech use to non tech) sims that are designed to provide a sandbox for students to explore, wonder and conjecture can shift the discourse to students' insights and ideas. If teachers' understand student exploration as important math activity, and lesson plans include such time, sims that have the capacity for sustained student exploration can be used to increase the showcasing and use of student initiated ideas. 

     
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    Kathy Perkins
  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.