CTTE top banner

Science Header

Content Areas




Social Studies


Curry Science Education Program Collection of Simulation Web Sites

Word File of Collection with Screenshots & Links

Earth & Space Science
Nature of Science

NOTE: You will need the following software to run these simulations:

Special thanks to Curry graduate students Alison Baird, Katie Culbert, Matt Togna, Lara Smetana, Ian Binns, Heather Banchi, and Chris Schnittka for their efforts in compiling this list of simulations.


Energy Skate Park

Learn about conservation of energy with a skater dude! Build tracks, ramps and jumps for the skater and view the kinetic energy, potential energy and friction as he moves. You can also take the skater to different planets or even space!

Energy of Springs

This simulation allows the students to change the friction and stiffness of the spring as well as the mass on the end of the spring to observe the change in energy.  This shows kinetic, potential and thermal energy.  The students can alos change the gravity of the system.

Funderstanding Roller Coaster 

This simulator is designed for kids who want to design their own thrilling coaster and educators who want to use a cool activity to simulate the application of physics by using an exciting interactive tool and access to a wonderful reference source.  It is your mission to design the coaster so that you can achieve maximum thrills and chills without crashing or flying off the track (unless that's how you like your coaster to work!).

Projectile Motion

Blast a Buick out of a cannon! Learn about projectile motion by firing various objects. Set the angle, initial speed, and mass. Add air resistance. Make a game out of this simulation by trying to hit a target.

Mass, Force, & Acceleration

Figure out how mass, force, and acceleration are related, and see if you can write a rule.


This simulation allows students to use an oscilloscope.  This is a free sample that must be downloaded and can be used offline.


Build any circuit you like using batteries, switches, wires, resistors and light bulbs. Measure the voltage and current using a voltmeter and ammeter. Or, refer to one of the prescribed exhibits.

Voltage, Charges, and Energy in a Circuit

This simulation allows students to determine the relationship between current, voltage and resistance.  The students can change either the resistance or voltage and observe how the current changes.  This is a free sample that must be downloaded and can be used offline.


This simulation allows the students to observe how changing the conductivity of the material in the circuit will change the energy of the electrons in the circuit.

Coulomb’s Law

This simulation allows the students to explore Coulomb’s Law.  The students can move the ions, and the simulation will graph the force and distance.  The students can change the number of ions to see how the graph changes.

Faraday’s Law

This simulation allows the students to explore Faraday’s Law and the effect of a magnet on an electric field or coil.  The students can measure the magnetic field in different situations.

Radio Waves and Electromagnetic Fields

Visualize the waves emanating from an electron oscillating on the broadcasting antenna as well as the strength and direction of forces exerted on the charges. Multiple representations of EM waves are presented.


This simulation allows the students to observe what will happen to the molecules and the temperature when microwaves are applied to the system.

Elemental Spectra

In this interactive simulation, the Periodic Table is displayed, and as each element symbol is clicked, the elemental line spectrum is displayed. The lines of absorption or emission can be clicked by mouse to determine their wavelengths.

Emission & Absorption

These simulations allow the students to observe the difference between emission and absorption.  The students can change the amount of red, blue and green light being emitted or absorbed.

Geometric Optics

This simulation allows the student to change the curvature radius, refractive index and diameter.  The students can see how moving the object will move the reflection or change the size of the reflection.

Fourier: Making Waves

Investigate the meaning of harmonics. Add harmonics of varying amplitudes to create sound waves.


The Mixtures Lab

Apply knowledge of physical properties to try your hand at separating the substances in several mixtures.

Boiling Point Elevation and Freezing Point Depression

This simulation allows the students to investigate what will happen to the freezing point and boiling point of certain solvents when different solutes are added.  As the Kb, Kf, pure boiling point and pure freezing point, the students can check the results mathematically.

Melting & Boiling Point

Run an experiment to make heating curves for three different substances.  Then, read each curve to determine the substances’ melting and boiling points. 

Periodic Table and Electron Configurations

Click on any element and the name, symbol, atomic number and atomic mass are given. A graphical plot of electron configurations will be displayed as well.

Periodic Table, Isotopes, and Half-life

Click on an element symbol for more information, such as when it was discovered.

Atomic Structure

In this interactive simulation, an atom is built from the quark up. As up and down quarks are combined to make protons or neutrons, they can be dragged into the atomic structure and placed appropriately. Electrons can be dragged and placed in the appropriate electron shell.

Atomic Models

In this simulation, particles are shot at a hydrogen atom.  The experiment shows what happens in real life.  If you change to the experiment, you can test how the Billiard Ball, Plum Pudding, Solar System, Bohr, deBroglie, and Schrödinger models react when the particles are shot at the hydrogen atom.

Balancing Equations

This interactive game consists of 13 chemical equations that need balancing. If you correctly balance each equation, you are rewarded with interesting element factoids. If you do not balance the equation correctly, you are prompted to try again. A student worksheet can be downloaded to accompany this website.

Chemical Equation Construction

This simulation gives the students a reaction and the students must come up with the chemical equation in words and then in symbols.  The students must then balance the equation and finally, determine the state of each of the reactants and products.

Virtual Chemistry Lab

In this virtual chemistry lab, cabinets are opened full of chemicals and lab-ware. Chemicals can be mixed together, heated, poured from one container to another, and specific information about chemical properties is displayed. As solutions are heated, you can see the pH values change. There is a very helpful Help Menu. This is a professionally done site, funded by the National Science Foundation.

Reactions and Rates

This simulation allows the students to see how they can put energy into the system to overcome the activation energy.  They can increase the temperature as well as the number of molecules.  There is also a timer feature, so students can measure how long it takes for a reaction to occur, and how the rate changes when the temperature is changed.

Acid-Base Titration

This simulation allows the students to determine the acids and bases they will use in the titration, as well as the indicator.  The students can add the solutions in large portions and dropwise.  Once they have completed the titration, they can calculate the molarity of the acid and check their answer.

Redox Titration

This simulation allows students to perform a titration of Redox reactions.  After performing the titration with a known concentration of the oxidizing agent, they will be able to calculate the concentration of the reducing agent, and then check their answer.

Ideal Gas Law

An effective tool to help students learn about all aspects of the ideal gas law. One of the best web gas law simulations.

Boyle’s Law

This simulation allows students to gather data on the volume and pressure of a gas in the tube.  Once the students have gathered this data, they can create a graph to see how Boyle’s law is supported.

Charles’ Law

This simulation allows students to gather data on the volume and pressure of a gas in the tube.  Once the students have gathered this data, they can create a graph to see how Boyle’s law is supported.

Gas Properties

This simulation allows the students to set a constant parameter, either volume, temperature or pressure, and then adjust one of the other parameters and observe how the third parameter responds.  The students can also time the reaction or graph the kinetic energy and speed if the molecules.

Electrolysis Simulation

This simulations allows the students to explore how electrolysis works with different metals, solutions, and voltages over time.  The simulation allows the students to see the movement of electrons and the change in mass of the metals.

Nuclear Fission

In this semi-interactive simulation, click a button to start the fission of an atom of Uranium. It is interesting to note that the resulting daughter atoms are not always the same. Restart this reaction over and over to observe the varied outcomes.

Nuclear Fission

Start a chain reaction, or introduce non-radioactive isotopes to prevent one. Control energy production in a nuclear reactor! (Previously part of the Nuclear Physics simulation - now there are separate Alpha Decay and Nuclear Fission sims.)

The Law of Radioactive Decay

The law of radioactive decay predicts how the number of the not decayed nuclei of a given radioactive substance decreases in the course of time. The red circles of this simulation symbolize 1000 atomic nuclei of a radioactive substance whose half-life period (T) amounts to 20 seconds.


This simulation allows students to use a spectrometer without needing to have an actual spectrometer.  They can zero the spectrometer with distilled water, they can change the wavelength and the molarity of the sample, and the can graph this data.



Animal Cell Mitosis Animation

This animation demonstrates the stages of mitosis in an animal cell. Descriptions of each stage and representative still frames are provided.


Explore the role of enzymes. Determine the effects of temperature and substrate concentration on enzyme activity.

The Virtual Transgenic Fly Lab
(click “Enter the lab....” at bottom of page)

Explore the Virtual Transgenic Fly Lab. The lab will familiarize you with the science and techniques used to make transgenic flies. Transgenic organisms, which contain DNA that is inserted experimentally, are used to study many biological processes. In this lab, you will create a transgenic fly to study circadian rhythms. The fly glows only when a certain gene involved in circadian rhythms is activated. After making the glowing fly, you will use it to explore basic principles of circadian biology and genetics.

DNA Workshop 

The DNA Workshop places you within the cell, involving you with the processes of DNA replication and protein synthesis.

Karyotyping Activity

This exercise is a simulation of human karyotyping using digital images of chromosomes from actual human genetic studies. You will be arranging chromosomes into a completed karyotype, and interpreting your findings just as if you were working in a genetic analysis program at a hospital or clinic. Karyotype analyses are performed over 400,000 times per year in the U.S. and Canada. Imagine that you were performing these analyses for real people, and that your conclusions would drastically affect their lives.

Owl Pellet, Squid, and Frog Dissection

This commercial site offers owl pellet, squid, and frog dissection simulations. A free owl pellet demonstration allows the student to click and drag bones from the pellet to the outline of the vole. The name of each skeletal piece is provided. This activity would be a good precursor to the actual dissection, which is a much messier activity! Click “demos” to see the free portions of the site.

Fetal Pig Dissection

Not for the weak-kneed, this virtual dissection activity takes the student through six body systems of the fetal pig. The images are clear and life-like, and the student interacts by clicking through each step. The site also has quizzes for after each section of the activity.

The eSkeletons Project

This interactive site allows participants to learn about skeletal anatomy by viewing the bones of a human, chimpanzee, and baboon. The Comparative Anatomy section enables users to make direct comparisons.


Students can plant trees from a pool of over 30 regional species, set environmental parameters such as rain fall, temperature, and soil conditions, and watch the forest plot grow and evolve over many years.

Biomes Visualization

This 3D simulation lets you take part in an around-the-world scientific expedition researching Earth's biomes. A biome is a group of land ecosystems with similar climates and organisms. It is mostly the climate—temperature and precipitation—in an area that determines its biome. Examine the globe to see the worldwide distribution of the biomes on our planet.

Sunny Medows - Food Chain Simulator

In this game, you set up a food chain of plants, rabbits and foxes within an ecosystem. Then, the game will simulate 50 years of the changes in populations within an ecosystem.

Earth & Space Science

Interactive Rock Cycle

Explore the various processes in the rock cycle.  See how igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks change into one another in a subduction zone setting.

Plate Tectonics

Move the oceanic and continental plates around and watch mountain building and a volcanic eruption. A map of the continents shows where various plate boundaries are.

Eclipses and Moon Phases

When the moon's shadow hits Earth or Earth's shadow hits the moon, an eclipse occurs. This real-time 3D simulation of the Sun, Earth, and moon explains lunar and solar eclipses, as well as the defined moon phases. The student can manipulate the Sun, the Earth, and the moon into all of their phases as well as view the phases from a variety of different perspectives.

Solar System Simulator

Choose an object in our solar system, choose your viewing location and date/time, and run this simulator to use your virtual telescope. This is a highly interactive and interesting tool, as an independent variable can be changed to observe the outcome.

Virtual Planetarium

Set your own observing position to explore the sky. Make observations and investigate questions that would not be possible or feasible in a traditional classroom setting.


This free space simulation lets you explore our universe in three dimensions. Celestia doesn't confine you to the surface of the Earth. You can travel throughout the solar system, to any of over 100,000 stars, or even beyond the galaxy.

Virtual Earthquake

Virtual Earthquake is an interactive computer program designed to introduce you to the concepts of how an earthquake epicenter is located and how the Richter magnitude of an earthquake is determined.

Make a Quake

Make a Quake is an interactive computer program designed to explain what kind of damage occurs during an earthquake to various types of building structures depending on how the building is reinforced and what type of foundation it is built upon.

Seismic Waves

Seismic waves are vibrations that travel through Earth carrying the energy released during an earthquake. This real-time 3D application allows users to create seismic waves of any magnitude and pass them through a variety of terrains. The student can view the seismic activity in the terrain through both a textured and wire frame view.

Ocean Waves

Most waves form when winds blowing across the water's surface transmit their energy to the water. This is a real-time 3D wave simulator which demonstrates the connection between wind speed and ocean particle motion depth. The student can modify the properties of an ocean wave and see the effect from any perspective.


Adjust mountain snowfall and temperature to see the glacier grow and shrink. Use scientific tools to measure thickness, velocity and glacial budget.

The Greenhouse Effect

Just how do greenhouse gases change the climate? Select the level of atmospheric greenhouse gases during an ice age, in the year 1750, today, or some time in the future and see how the Earth's temperature changes. Add clouds or panes of glass.


Experimental Design & Nature of Science

The Science Pirates

Join Captain Brownbeard aboard his pirate ship as you use experimental design to find a scientific explanation for the mysterious curse that plagues his crew. Students engage in developing hypotheses, designing experiments, and manipulating variables, all in an appealing 3-D game environment.

The Science-o-nator

Use indirect observations to infer which shape is hidden behind the circle. This fun activity illustrates the role of inference and indirect evidence in the construction of scientific knowledge.


Back to Top

Home | About Us | Activities | Partnerships | Courses | Content Areas
Curry LogoUVA logo
Send comments or questions here.
Last modified on October 30, 2008