For best high school physics student resources to reinforce and supplement instruction (especially Modeling Instruction), below is a list of websites recommended by teachers of first-year physics students, including AP and DE. (Updated in May 2015; compiled by Jane Jackson)


Use them to REINFORCE learning in the classroom, not before classroom instruction.  Otherwise, students are tempted to memorize, rather than think and reason.


Note: we do NOT recommend the KhanAcademy, because high school physics teachers and college physics faculty report 1) major errors in physics content, 2) ineffective pedagogy.  

See Frank Noschese’s blog for evidence:





1) Modeling, edited by Mark Schober

 This website is a compilation of materials based on the Modeling Instruction pedagogical approach to teaching physics.  It includes content support for teachers, model assessments, lab guides, student study guides, problems and solutions, and materials from professional physics education workshops.  Materials are organized by fundamental models and encompass topics typically covered in an introductory physics curriculum.  All resources are freely downloadable and may be reproduced for classroom use. The resources were developed for high school use.



Tutorials by Tom Henderson, a high school physics teacher at Glenbrook South High School in Glenview, Illinois. Also interactive question/answer sets, Shockwave simulations, tips for teachers, narrated demonstrations, lab manuals. A Physics Front "Elite Choice".

[Modeler Marc Reif wrote in 2014, “The website is, I think, a useful resource for students, even though it does not follow the modeling units or consistently use the same notations and structure as modeling.”]


3) Robert Karplus' textbook: Introductory Physics: A Model Approach. 2nd & 3rd editions edited by Fernand Brunschwig in 2003 and 2011. Outstanding for conceptual physics in grades 11-12 and college. Download free at . It was 90% finished in 2015. Log in as <guest>, and use the password <guest>.


“This is a clear, exceptionally well-written textbook with verve, the ability to connect with beginners, and an innovative conceptual structure. Given all that has been learned about physics teaching in the last 35 years, especially the many insights from physics education research (PER), Karplus’ approach seems especially on-target. In summary, the second edition of

Introductory Physics: A Model Approach by Robert Karplus is a genuinely outstanding text for non-science [post-secondary] students …”  from a review in The Physics Teacher, which is at


4)  SPIRAL PHYSICS. by Paul D'Alessandris, Monroe Community College, is a wealth of research-based conceptual/quantitative activities for calculus-based physics and algebra-based physics (grades 11-12 and college). Free downloadable modules for students. Dwain Desbien, an expert modeler at Estrella Mountain Community College, uses Spiral Physics extensively. He wrote in May 2015: “I use parts of it in all my classes. I particularly use it in University Physics 2 and 3. It is a great resource for activities.”


5)   LEARN AP PHYSICS.   Lessons developed for AP physics students; site is maintained by Richard White, an AP physics teacher in southern California.  Lessons are from three sources: the Monterrey Institute (open source: California Board of Regents), M.I.T. (OpenCourseWare) and the Mechanical Universe & Beyond.




Illinois PER: Interactive Examples

    Unique collection of interactive homework problems for algebra-based and calculus-based introductory physics. All problems are designed in a Socratic-dialog format with immediate feedback provided at each step. Developed by Gary Gladding.  A Physics Front "Elite Choice."




PhET: Physics Education Technology

    Award-winning set of 100+ interactive simulations for physics, chemistry, and biology.... Many have been classroom-tested in grades 6-12. A Physics Front "Elite Choice".


Frank Noschese’s  list of Physics Applets & Animations, organized by concept, at



LABORATORY INVESTIGATIONS (virtual experiments): The Rutgers Physics Teaching Technology Resource (PT3) won the AAAS Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE) in 2010. It is popular all over the world in schools ranging from middle schools to universities. Some institutions rely on it for all of their physics labs. In some cases, students say the web site’s videos illustrate concepts in ways that hit home like no other explanation. The web site explains how to use the videos, describes the underlying teaching philosophy, and provides examples of how students can work with the videos. The ~200 downloadable videos work with any curriculum and with any textbook and are supported by questions, all of which allow students to work independently at their own pace.  Authors are Drs. Eugenia Etkina and David Brookes.  Virtual experiments for high school or college physics; minimally supported by questions.



REAL-WORLD CONNECTIONS (videos for AP physics & chemistry, calculus, engineering):  MIT’s Teaching and Learning Laboratory (TLL) has created 47 STEM Concept Videos to help students connect the concepts they learn in introductory STEM courses to concrete, real-world problems. Students can watch the videos to prepare for class or review a concept for an exam. Instructors can use them to supplement classroom instruction, using snippets or the entire video, most of which are under 15 minutes.  Throughout the videos, viewers are prompted to pause to actively engage with the material — to predict the result of demonstrations, engage in a discussion of concepts, or perform activities tied to the video’s intended learning outcomes.


Some examples of questions that the videos pose include:

    What is the connection between martial arts and torque? 

    How can the concept of latent heat be used to design more energy-efficient buildings?


The videos utilize animations, visualizations, demonstrations, and examples from engineering and science disciplines.  They grab the viewer’s attention by asking a provoking question or describing a real-world phenomenon. They tell viewers what prerequisite knowledge they will need to understand the topic and what they will learn by watching the video.


NAžVE CONCEPTIONS: Interactive Video Vignettes (IVVs) are  available for free; and Priscilla Laws' group has an NSF grant to develop more of them.  Each online vignette addresses a learning difficulty identified by PER. They take about 10 minutes to complete.


IVVs are designed for use as online assignments such as homework, pre-class tutorials, flipped-classroom lecture segments, or Interactive Web Lectures. The interactivity helps engage students and keep them focused.


Derek Muller, the creator of the popular science-video website, found in his dissertation research that "explicit discussions of alternative conceptions are more effective for learning than expository summaries." Consequently, many vignettes show the instructor, students, or other participants discussing all possible answers to multiple-choice questions. The vignettes developed so far include instructor-led presentations, "person-on-the-street" interviews, discussions between students and instructors, and stories played out by student actors.


FIVE vignettes are available in spring 2015.

  *  Projectile Motion: Independence of vertical and horizontal motion.

  *  Newton's First, Second, and Third Laws (3 vignettes).

  *  Bullet-Block (with Derek Muller): Conservation of momentum in an inelastic collision.

More are being developed.


Note: The Physics Front is a free service of the American Assn of Physics Teachers (AAPT) for pre-college teachers. Resources are reviewed; priority is given to materials that promote engaged learning, visualization, student interactivity, and multimedia experiences.


If you have other suggestions, please email .