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PhET – Biology

PhET provides a suite of free, online simulations in a variety of different science disciplines; they can also be filtered by grade level. Each simulation comes with an introduction to a topic, followed by a game or formative assessment for students to practice their skills.

The Natural Selection simulation allows students to manipulate a population of rabbits to better understand how environmental stressors can impact a population over time. By adding or subtracting predators or limiting food supply, students can watch a population graph change over time. Additionally, students can manipulate dominant and recessive gene traits, allowing them to see how DNA plays a role in evolution and natural selection. This simulation provides excellent opportunities to discuss evolution, extinction, DNA, limiting resources, and the reading of population graphs and pedigrees.

Additional Resources

A Teaching Resources link can be found underneath each PhET simulation. This link provides lesson plans and student worksheets for each PhET activity. These are great starting places for teachers interested in adapting these exercises for their classroom. There is also an Activities section with teacher-submitted activities. You will need to sign up for a free account to view these resources.