Physics Teacher Resources

Interesting Sites:

The Best Physics Web Sites (compiled by Rebecca Wenning-Vieyra, last updated summer 2006)

Also highly recommended by Wenning-Vieyra (5/10/2009) are the following:

  • - Experience math and science with Gizmos! Online simulations that power inquiry and understanding.
  • Hyperphysics - HyperPhysics is an exploration environment for concepts in physics that employs concept maps and other linking strategies to facilitate smooth navig

Also part of this amazing suite of files are the following:

High School Physics Resources (PowerPoint presentation)

Survey of High School Physics Texts

Low-Cost Physics Activities

Compadre Webpage - ComPADRE is a collaboration between AAPT, AIP, APS, AAS, and the SPS, funded in part by the NSF/NSDL. It provides some good resource sections for high school physics teachers. Check out especially The Physics Front which provides support and teaching resources for high school teachers of physics, especially new and crossover teachers.

Rutgers Physics Teaching Technology Resources

CIESE Online Classroom Projects (Interdisciplinary Internet Projects in Cooperation with Others)

Near-free Materials for your Classroom

Sample High School Physics Course Syllabus

Sample Student Information Sheet

Basic Attributes of a Model Physics Classroom

Amusement Park Physics

The Amusement Park Physics CPB/Annenberg Web site

Annenberg/CPB Video on demand, including The Mechanical Universe. A site with videos for every conceivable level of high school physics instruction. A site with self-study guides and animations for every conceivable high school physics course.

Useful Books:

Teaching Physics for the First Time by Jan Mader and Mary Winn. Written by high school teachers for high school teachers. A resource published by PTRA (no information about availablity as of yet - published in January 2009)

Five Easy Lessons: Strategies for Successful Physics Teaching by Randal D. Knight. Written from a college perspective, but has lots of useful information for high school teachers.

Many other physics teaching books are available from


Science and Mathematics Initiative for Learning Enhancement (SMILE) The SMILE program at the Illinois Institute of Technology is designed to enhance the elementary and high school learning of science and mathematics through the use of the phenomenological approach. Since 1986 participants in summer sessions have been asked to create and publish a single concept lesson plan. These lesson plans include the materials needed, a suggested strategy and expected outcomes. There are currently almost 800 lesson plans available, including almost 200 single concept physics lessons. These lessons may be freely copied and used in a classroom but they remain the copyright property of the author(s) and the directors of the SMILE program. The Physics lessons are divided into the following categories: Matter, Mechanics, Fluids, Electricity & Magnetism, Waves, Sound and Optics, and Miscellaneous. A service of IIT and a Chicago area physics alliance. . These lesson plans are available in a number of formats and deal with a wide number of disciplines, including physics.

Illinois State Physics Project This site maintains a set of newsletters (ISPP Reminder) that documents a host of practical, low cost physics demonstrations that are tried and true. Many contributions by well-known Illinois high school and university physics teachers. (2/278/01)

Connecting Research in Physics Education with Teacher Education The International Commission on Physics Education (ICPE) of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics has published a new (1998) ICPE book entitled "Connecting Research in Physics Education with Teacher Education." This book was undertaken on behalf of the ICPE -- with support from UNESCO-- to make available the results of research in physics education world-wide to physics teacher educators. Edited by Andree Tiberghien, E. Leonard Jossem, and Jorge Barojas, the book draws on contributions from distinguished physics education research workers.

The Physics 2000 Project The general public has long regarded the subject of physics as incomprehensible, inaccessible, stuffy, fearsome or all of these. To combat this perception and to reach a new generation of Web-savvy students, Marty Goldman, together with faculty and staff at the University of Colorado, have created a unique and ambitious "Physics-2000" site on the World Wide Web. It features interactive virtual physics experiments, explained by dialogue among a cast of cartoon characters in a Web site of over 100 pages. The virtual experiments utilize Java Applet technology, enabling users of Web browsers such as Netscape 3.0 to download parcels of code which transform the screen into a computer-mouse-guided science laboratory. An example is an image of a hand with a fluoroscope frame over it, revealing the underlying bone structure. By dragging the mouse the user can move the frame and scan the entire hand.

Physical Sciences Resource Center The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) has developed the Physical Sciences Resource Center (PSRC), a multidimensional Web-based resource of physics education resources for physics teachers at all educational levels. PSRC features curricula, links to Web sites, shareware, sample assessments, job opportunities, and other valuable information. A key feature of PSRC is that links are reviewed prior to their posting, so that users can have increased confidence in the value of PSRC resources. Another feature of PSRC is that it is a resource of its users. In other words, users may submit Web sites and other resources for review. (6/05/98)

Bad Science Bad Science abounds and comes in many guises. This page sets out to attack only one brand: well understood phenomena which are persistently presented incorrectly by teachers and writers, presumably because they either do not know any better or because they don't really care enough to get it correct. By publicizing examples of bad science, students, teachers and writers may become sensitized to the horrors of such glib explanations or representations. (6/15/98)

The US Department of Education has a large number of publications on diverse topics.


Physics Education Technology (PhET)

Physlets (Davidson College)

Interactive Physlets (Grenfell College)

Virtual Labs and Simulations (Hazelwood High School)

MyPhysicsLabs (Simulations by Erik Neumann)

First & Second Semester Demonstrations (Simulations by Duffy)

Applets and Shockwave Animations for use in Physics

Physics Java Applets by C. K. Ng

Flash Animations for Physics


Physics Classroom

National associations:

American Institute of Physics

American Association of Physics Teachers

American Physical Society

National Science Teachers Association

Illinois physics teacher associations:

Illinois Section of the AAPT

SLAPT - Saint Louis Area Physics Teachers

Illinois State Physics Project (Chicago Area)

Physics Northwest (Chicago Area)

Physics West (Chicago Area)

Chicago Section of the AAPT

Illinois science teacher associations:

Illinois Academy of Sciences

Other Illinois teacher associations:

Illinois Education Association -- For Students Learn about benefits of participation in state and national associations. Benefits of student memberships include low-cost insurance for student teaching.

Selected High School Curricula:

American Association of Physics Teachers, Powerful Ideas in Physical Science, Vol. I-IV. College Park, MD: Author (1995)

Eisenkraft, A. Active Physics, AAPT (1994)

Haber-Schaim, U., Dodge, J. H., Gardner, R., & Shore, E. PSSC Physics

Laws, P, et al., Workshop Physics Activity Guide, Wiley, NY (1997)
Leonard, W. J., R. J. Dufresne, W. J. Gerace, & J. P. Mestre, Minds on Physics, Activities and Reader, Kendall/Hunt, Dubuque, IA, (1999)

Mazur, E., Peer Instruction: A User's Manual, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall (1997)

McDermott, L. C. (Physics Education Group at the University of Washington), Physics by Inquiry, Vols. I and II, New York, NY: Wiley, New York (1996)

McDermott L. C. (Physics Education Group at the University of Washington), Tutorials in Introductory Physics and Homework Manual, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall (1998)

Sokoloff, D.R, Thornton, R.K., & Laws, P.W. Real-Time Physics, New York, NY: Wiley (1999)

Van Heuvelen, A. ActivPhysics: An Interactive Multimedia CD, Addison Wesley. Part I (1997)/Part II (January 1999).,2627,0201361116,00.html