New to Physics Teaching? - check this out!
Updated: Jul 18
When I was a new physics teacher, I felt a bit lost, a bit alone and a bit underappreciated. However, I persevered and made it through my first year by working effectively 6 days a week using one day a week(end) to make materials of my own that suit my learning style and made sense of physics content I was teaching. This was possible in part due to a very supportive partner (thank goodness for her). Yet, what would have helped during that time was simply more support from physics colleagues and possible resources I could use to assist me with figuring out how to leverage existing work to support my own teaching and learning.
So to that end, here is a blog post on useful physics websites which I wish I had known about previously and hopefully this will help at least one physics teacher out there with something new. If so, then this blog post will all have been worth it!
Of course, being a teacher myself I would like to suggest that you would be welcome to try my materials which cover IB DP physics, IGCSE physics, MYP physics and key stage 3 physics as well as a variety of non-exam board specific resources. There is plenty there to help the budding physics teacher and that is indeed my speciality.
PHET simulations is run by the university of Colorado and is particularly useful in helping to show sometimes difficult and challenging concepts for students. While they do not cover everything, there is a lot of helpful items in these interactive online simulations and constantly kept up to date and functional.
Youtube channels - Lots of them
It is best not to necessarily overuse this resource, since youtube can be a bit of a killer of creativity, however it does offer a great deal of inspiration and some of my favorite youtube channels are listed below to help you find the relevant items.
The Engineering mindset - this channel is particularly useful for electrical topics
Vsauce 1, 2 and 3 (1 linked here)
Hopefully some of the above are helpful and you have maybe not seen all of them before. Good luck and good searching for useful inspirational videos.
These are well made digital resources that can really add depth to your teaching and support your students with materials designed with teaching in mind. The simulations leave a little bit to be desired at times, however, when coupled with the flexbooks which are online digital textbooks, ck12 can be great. It might need you to sign-up though and students can do this with their google if your school approves to make free access easier for you and your students.
These are a set of online simulations for helping physics students understand various concepts. Particularly good for electricity.
Online explanations of physics concepts. Sometimes really fabulous explanations and equations and sometimes a bit advanced or not clear for students to understand.
This online textbook is independently written, kept and shared with the world. While not perfect, many of its sections are useful and relevant and would really help students if used in context with other resources and support.
Image source: https://universeandmore.com/
I like this site because they have games that are particularly aimed at physics. While I first discovered them through crack the circuit, some of their other games / apps are also useful for teaching both at a younger level and more advanced items as well.
Crack the circuit - is particularly useful at helping students learn how to structure simple circuits and understand their dynamics.
Ophysics online simulations - great for electricity in particular.
I would recommend using the above resources when appropriate and where you can to help explain concepts. Many students work better with a mental visual model of physical situations and I have supplemented mathematics, directional problems and complex situations with sketches and simulations. Making exploration scripts based on online simulations is also helpful too, giving students freedom to work at their own pace or online depending on your context or the students needs.
Thanks for reading.
Cheers and stay curious
Oliver - The Teaching Astrophysicist
(Note: This blog post was NOT generated by AI and is conceived, typed and uploaded by a real person.)