FlaskFiller simulation

glazenFlaskFiller, or rather GlassFiller, is a simulation which enables teachers and students to experiment with and reason about the relationship between the shape of a glass, and the change in speed while filling it up (time vs height of the liquid in the glass).


The simulation program enables the user to

  • Select the horizontal axis’ quantity, which is one of height, time, volume, or rising speed.
  • Select the vertical axis’ quantity, which is one of height, time, volume, or rising speed.

Note that you can select the same quantity for both axes, which can make for an interesting topic of discussion. See some screenshots below.

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Read the information about the simulation and how to use it on FaskFiller Education.
Read the Research done on FlaskFiller software used with grade 5 pupils.

The simulation has been used with grade 5 pupils in a one-to-one setting. When using this simulation in class you might want to use a hands-on experiment first, whereby you use a measuring cup to fill up glasses with different shapes. Let the pupils measure, observe and reason about what is happening with the different glasses.

Afterwards let the pupils experiment with the simulation based on clear questions/tasks. Students should be encouraged to record their findings and discoveries on a worksheet.
Most grade 5 pupils understand the principle of instantaneous speed, but lack the vocabulary. After experimenting in small groups, you could start the simulation on your SmartBoard and discuss the findings. Here the pupils will learn to extend their vocabulary and express what they see and think. Vocabulary: (rising)speed, volume, height, shape, cola-flesjetime, timelap, decrease/increase in speed of height of liquid visible in the graph.
After experimenting and discussion, pupils should for example be able to match a glass (or bottle) with a graph and vice versa.

The simulation can be used from grade 5 up to grade 10 depending on the tasks given.

The simulation program is available online as an HTML file, but can also be downloaded for off-line use.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC
 Requirements  browser

Simulation game: Fishbanks

overfishing_500Fishbanks – a Renewable Resource Management Game is a simulation program and management game from MIT. The game targets the dilemmas surrounding the exploitation of natural resources, such as fish, clean water, fresh air. These resources are not owned by anybody, yet can easily be depleted by some big industries. This is also know as The Tragedy of the Commons.

The game is about subject areas such as: economy, management, resource management, and environmental studies.

You can try out and viw part of the Fishbanks simulation program without registration. Educational institutes can use the simulation for free after registration (administrator).

Below a introductory video of the previous version of the game on The Tradegy of the Commons.

The game is suitable for higher education classes and possibly in grade 11 and 12.

 Purchase  Free for educational institutes
 Hardware  PC
 Requirements  browser

Climate change simulations

On October 4th 2016 the EU has signed the  global Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.

Climate change and clean energy transition are complex challenges. The simulations of Climate Interactive enable you to simulate the many factors and see the result of policies. It is quite reveling and insightfull to see how much reducation in CO2 emmissions is required to minimize the temperature change to 2 degrees Celcius.
C-Learn simulation

C-Learn, C-Roads and EN-Roads are three simulations from Climate Interactive organization, based on systems dynamics modeling from MIT.

The simulations enable teachers, lecturers and students and people in general to see connections, play out scenarios, and see what works to address the biggest challenges we face: climate change and clean energy.

The simulations enable you to set up and compare many What if scenarios. The Climate Interactive website offers tutorial videos on how to use the tools.

  • C-Learn is the simple version of C-Roads and available online
  • C-Roads is the Climate simulation which has to be downloaded
  • EN-Roards is the simulation on Energy transition and climate goals

Target group: policy makers, lecturers, university students.
C-Learn can definitely be used at higher secondary level.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  iPad, PC
 Requirements  browser
Note: the downloads give security warnings.

Solubility in water

Water is the most important chemical substance on earth. Water has specific chemical characteristics unlike other substances. One of these characteristics is its solubility.

Students build an understanding of solution concentration by varying amounts of solute,
solvent, and solution. Students can investigate which substance can have the largest concentration (solves best) even if they do not know  the substance. This can be an introduction to a hands-on practical.

The students can observe the amount of mol/L (molecules that can be solved in one litre) and find out what saturated means? What can be observed when the solvent is saturated?


 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC
 Requirements  browser

Oplossen glazenDownload practical experiment on Solubility in water for primary school level.


bruistablet2Download practical on Solubility with the use of effervescent tablets.

Depending on how used the pupils are to carry out experiments, you can leave out some of the instructions (scaffolding). Purely inquiry-based would be:

  • Find out how you can influence the degree of solubility in water using the effervescent tablets and water.

Whereby the pupils have to set up the experiment themselves, record the results, and write a conclusion.


See the blogpost Density and Buoyancy for buoyancy in water.

The Moving Man

The applet The Moving Man enables students to experiment and learn about motion, position, velocity and acceleration. The movements of the man are plotted in charts.

  • Move the little man back and forth with the mouse and plot his motion.
  • Set the position, velocity, and/or acceleration and let the simulation move the man for you.

Moving man 1

Learning Goals

  • Interpret, predict charts/graphs on position, velocity and acceleration.
  • Describe, make sense of and reason about the charts.

If you register at the PHET website as a teacher, you have access to the information for teachers. The website offers examples of worksheets and questions for students at different levels.

Students can make a graph that fits a story, or make a story that fits a chart. At primary school level focus on one chart in the beginning. For example: What is the story behind this chart?

Do not underestimate the complexity of only the first chart. It shows a timeline, the position, negative numbers, and a man who covers a distance.

Moving man 2

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC
 Requirements  browser, JAVA

Density and Buoyancy

Density and Buoyancy is a simulation from the GoLabz project. The game uses colored cubes that can be dropped into an aquarium. Students can experiment with different volume, mass or density.

The program is one of many simulations by PHET, designed and developed by the University of Colorado.

density example

You can download a worksheet Density and Buoyancy for this game.

In addition to the game it would be great to use real cubes of different materials in an aquarium with real water. The students can make their own mystery cubes, of which the appearance does not give away the type of material used. Cubes should also be made water proof.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC, iPad
 Requirements  browser

Design Bridges

The Bridge Designer program is part of the Bridge Design Contest for civil engineers. The program enables students to design bridges, test the design, and analyse the test results. Both construction and costs are important factors. The design is part of a contest among students, but can also be used without participation in the contest. After the design a simulation of a truck crossing the designed bridge can be viewed.

The software Bridge Designer (2015) can be downloaded for free and is different for every new yearly contest.

The design requires a set of choices that influence the overall construction, the architecture, the costs. Thereafter the details have to be designed choosing from multiple options in terms of number of joints and supports, type of material etc.

Apart from use at university level among (civil)engineering students, the program could also be used as a tool to prepare a design of a bridge at secondary school level. Hereby, the tool could be used as an intrioduction. The program visualises the different type of constructions used in building bridges and their names.

Despite the high level of data and complexity of the designs you can make, is Bridge Designer  a highly interactive and intuitive program.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC, Mac
 Requirements  Java