This page links to resources supporting various units in physics, intended primarily for students in the IBO’s Middle Years Programme. Here you’ll find a variety of resources, from class presentations to YouTube videos to interactive simulations, focused on the most common subjects encountered in middle school and high school physics classes.
Because the MYP approaches science conceptually (rather than through the memorization of facts), each of our units of study focuses on one of the key concepts of systems, relationships, or change. Each unit uses related concepts, such as energy, movement, transformation, and models to strengthen and deepen students’ understanding of the content.
If the scientific concepts of each unit are what students should know, then the skills in each unit comprise what students should be able to do. MYP science skills can be broadly categorized into two categories: 1) designing, conducting, and evaluating scientific investigations, and 2) reflecting on the ways science impacts society. The content in some units is particularly suited for lab or field experiments, while other content is more approachable via reflection.
Units of Study
- Measurements, accuracy, and precision
- Motion and Forces
- Work, energy, and power
- Simple and compound machines
- Electromagnetism and electricity
- Sound and light waves
- Ray optics
- Radiation and radioactivity
General physics resources
- PhET simulations from the University of Colorado at Boulder, USA – This is my go-to resource when I need a simulation or animation. Interactive, well-designed, with plenty of support materials and the ability to take measurements. These animations may be used for virtual labs.
- The Physics Classroom – I’ve been using this site for years. It’s got well-written synopses of all the classical physics topics in student-friendly language, plus links to some basic animations and a range of practice problems. Extremely well-organized.
- Physics animations from the University of Notre Dame, USA – An extensive list of animations covering a wide range of physics topics.
- Physics and astronomy animations from Penn State University, USA – Another university site with an extensive list of short animations.
- Flash animations for physics – A long list of small Flash files over a wide variety of topics. From a professor at the University of Toronto, Canada.
- Math and physics animations – These animations aren’t great, but they clearly show the link between the math and graphic sides of physics. Also some calculus here, so probably more appropriate for upper high school students.
- University of New South Wales, Australia – Demo videos and GIFs covering a wide range of physics concepts.
- Games and interactives from The Science Channel – Focused on Newton’s laws of motion.
- Physics Central – Animations, videos, images, current news blog, searchable experiments. This is a good all-around resource.
- Sixty Symbols – Videos about physics and astronomy, with a little chemistry thrown in for good measure. A fair amount of applied science here, so that students can see real-world applications of classroom lessons. There are a lot more than 60 videos.
- Math and science activities from EdInformation – A collection of explanations about measurements, calculations, and other essentials of physical science.
- Science of Cycling – From the San Fransisco Exploratorium, this site looks at all the simple machines involved in (you guessed) bicycles.
- Physics videos from WFU.edu – A collection of short demo videos to stream or download covering the usual concepts, plus general relativity.
Science humor: Physics
I did not create these images, and for many of them I don’t even have a source. They’ve just come into my life one way or another over the years, and I enjoy sharing them with my students. So, if any of them are yours, please contact me and I will give credit where credit is due. In the meantime, enjoy!