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MERLOT/Physics Teaching and Learning

The MERLOT/Physics collection contains multimedia and web-based resources for teaching and learning physics. These tools can be used in standard classroom settings, as exercises or tutorials assigned outside of class, or as a part of online physics courses. These resources include animations, simulations, tutorials, and reference materials.

MERLOT/Physics also provides help for faculty and students wishing to more effectively use the resources provided.

The MERLOT/Physics Editorial Board is collecting recommended resources for different physics topics. These are available in the Personal Collection of the Board.

Although the MERLOT focus is on undergraduate physics, many of these materials are suitable for high school and middle school physics and physical sciences courses.

Resource types:

Examples of the main teaching resource types in MERLOT/Physics are given below. These are meant to provide a better picture of what the collection holds.

Animations: Multimedia illustrations of physical properties. Animations are often videos or applets where the content is fixed by the author.

Link to E&M Interactions: The Movies

MERLOT Listing: E&M Interactions: The Movies

Ruth Chabay

Short 3-D Quick Time movies of electric and magnetic fields in space designed to assist students in visualization. These examples are frequently discussed in introductory physics courses.
Link to Falstad Math and Physics Applets

MERLOT Listing: Math and Physics Applets

Paul Falstad

A large selection of physics and math applets illustrating physics and math concepts. Topics include waves & oscillations, electricity and magnetism, quantum mechanics, and vector calculus.

Simulations: Interactive applets that explore physical phenomena. Simulations provide controls for users to change parameters and measure outcomes.


MERLOT Listing: Physlets

Wolfgang Christian

Educational physics Java applets designed to be scripted in Java Script for use in quizzes, homework problems, and Just in Time Teaching activities. Includes applets that can be used in a wide range of classes, at different levels, and covering all topics in physics.
Link to Pendulum Lab

MERLOT Listing: Pendulum Lab

Franz-Josef Elmer

A virtual laboratory for rigid pendulums, including adjustable physical parameters and an oscilloscope for taking measurements. The site covers harmonic motion, resonance, parametric resonance, and non-linear dynamics and includes extensive theoretical and explanatory material.

Tutorials: Structured information for student learning. Tutorials include activities and/or questions to assess understanding.

Link to Physics Illuminations

MERLOT Listing: Physics Illuminations

Ron Greene

A collection of Java applets and text to help students understand concepts in introductory mechanics. Topics include Vectors, 1D Kinematics, 2D Kinematics, Dynamics (Forces), and Work and Energy. The items are interactive and provide immediate feedback for student self-study.
Link to Physics 2000: Bose-Einstein Condensation

MERLOT Listing: Bose-Einstein Condensation

Physics 2000

A tutorial on the physics of Bose-Einstein Condensation. It includes interactive applets for students to explore concepts of temperature and cooling as well as links to research results.

Reference Materials: Informational resources for students or instructors. Reference materials usually are not meant as stand-alone educational resources.

Link to Hyperphysics

MERLOT Listing: Hyperphysics

Rod Nave

Online resource with short articles and illustrations of a broad range of physics topics, including modern physics and astronomy. Material is organized through concept maps and extensive linking.
Link to AIP Center for the History of Physics

MERLOT Listing: Center for the History of Physics

American Institute of Physics

The Center for History of Physics preserves and makes known the history of modern physics and allied fields. Online exhibits include biographies, the history of important discoveries, and photographic archives.

Usage Tips:

MERLOT/Physics provides help for faculty and students wishing to more effectively use the resources provided. This includes formal peer reviews of resources, comments from MERLOT members, and assignments or lesson plans that use the resources.

Peer Reviews: The MERLOT/Physics Editorial Board and volunteer reviewers provide ratings and information about resources posted on MERLOT. The reviews are meant to help users find resources that meet their teaching or learning needs.
Physlet Optics Bench Peer Review This virtual optical bench applet received a 5 star review for its flexibility, comprehensiveness, and its intuitive interface.
Electromagnetic Oscillating Circuit Peer Review This java applet illustrating the oscillations in an LRC circuit received a 4 star review as an effective and engaging demonstration.
XVA Plots of Motion Peer Review This display of kinematic properties received a 3 star review as a simple exploration of motion.
Member Comments: Any logged in member of MERLOT may attach a comment to a learning resource in the collection. An overall rating, general comments, and technical issues can be included in the comments.
Applets for Quantum Mechanics Comments These java applets illustrate concepts in quantum mechanics. Many of these comments come from students as an assignment in their quantum class.
Ideal Gas Simulation Comments This is a molecular simulation of an ideal gas. These comments come from chemistry and physics instructors, illustrating some of the advantages of the cross-disciplinary nature of MERLOT.
Vector Composition Comments This java applet illustrates the addition of vectors. The member comments provide a rating for the general use of this learning resource.
Assignments: Any logged in member of MERLOT can attach their lesson plans or worksheets for the use of a learning resource. This sharing of learning materials aids other users of the collection.
Physlet Problems: Electrostatics The electrostatics physlet (scriptable physics applet) is used to create online conceptual and numerical problems for students.
The Ohm Zone This shockwave applet for building DC circuits is the basis for these worksheets that have students explore Ohm's Law.
Astronomy Demonstrations A series of Flash illustrations of concepts in Astronomy and Physics.