University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

PhysLab - A 3D Virtual Physics Laboratory of Simulated Experiments for Advanced Physics Learning

Price, Colin ORCID: and Price-Mohr, R. ORCID: (2019) PhysLab - A 3D Virtual Physics Laboratory of Simulated Experiments for Advanced Physics Learning. Physics Education, 54 (3). article no. 035006. ISSN 0031-9120

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We introduce a virtual physics laboratory, “PhysLab”, created using 3D video game technology suitable for advanced
level physics courses in secondary schools. This comprises 32 simulated experiments covering a range of physics
topics, selected in collaboration with practicing school teachers. PhysLab is made available at no cost for the physics
education community in two forms: first an installable application, ready to run; and secondly as a development
platform where we provide all computer code and assets. While we focus on the theory, design and pedagogical
aspects of PhysLab, we provide some critical reflections on the use of simulations in physics teaching in general, and
especially how these could be most effectively used in the physics classroom. The experiments are classified
according to their nature: supporting theory; “What if”-scenarios, like playing badminton on the Moon; or as
hypothetical situations, such as what happens if you drop your home town into a hole through the centre of the
Earth. We also discuss the details of several PhysLab simulations: the Wilberforce Pendulum; oscillations of a mass
on a rubber band, which involves non-linearity; the Drude theory of electrical conduction; the Cyclotron, and a
“Journey to the Centre of the Earth”.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: virtual physics laboratory, 3D video game technology, advanced level physics, secondary education, teaching
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
Q Science > QC Physics
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > Worcester Business School
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Colin Price
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2019 15:58
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:27

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