Once you have the written activity, how do you have it play out in your classroom? Here, we share some facilitation strategies that we found to work well. We're going to begin today with just playing with the sim. You-all will have exactly five minutes. In those five minutes, please do whatever you want to explore the sim, and then we'll dig into our learning goals for today, and our activity. We found that giving the students about five minutes to freely explore the simulation on their own before beginning an activity is helpful in several ways. It really helps them get more focused later on because they've already explored everything. It helps them with directions later on. They're making their own findings and own discoveries. While students are working through the activity, circulating the classroom lets you see what students are exploring and how they're thinking. When I circulated around the classroom, I listen for their conversations, I listen to what they're talking about, I listen to hear if they're on task. If I see that a student wrote something down that probably shouldn't be happening in the simulation, it's just a really easy thing to say, so you found that this happened in the simulation, can you show me that? Playing with PhET simulations often sparks student questions, and insights. Teachers can play an active role in drawing out those student ideas to use during further discussions and learning. It didn't turn on right, so what do you think is happening? As a teacher, it's important to capture those and either hold onto it for a later discussion to bring that idea out or to address it one on one where as a whole table, because one student's realization is awesome for other students to then also make that same connection. It's often best to use a light touch, not overly directing students as they work through the activity, but instead encouraging further student exploration. I never touched the keyboard ever. It's too easy to swoop in and take over, and then they're not learning it. Did you know that you can move the moon? At the end of the day to be able to explore something and gain their own conclusions, that's more important to our future. One of the things that I've noticed that's really helpful if students are stuck on one part of the sim is to say, I wonder. I wonder what would happen if you did this, and if I see that the student isn't on track to master something, then I might say, can you show me how you did that? Many teachers plan certain times in an activity where they will check that students are mastering the learning goals. This can be done individually or in small groups, by looking at student worksheets, asking questions or listening to group conversations, or these pause points can be times for students share out to the whole class and class discussion. It's important for the teacher to make sure that they're doing checks for understanding along the way, and see really which students are getting it, and which students I might need to spend a little more time with, making sure that they are caught up with the rest of the class. Either I walk around the room and ask them questions, we might have clicker questions. At critical points, teachers can pull the class together to discuss key concepts. Drawing on student ideas here helps to keep this discussion student centered. Teachers can ask students to share out different things that they've discovered or figured out in the simulations, and have those students share with the class, and have the other students in the class comment on what those students said. They can also have students go to the front if you have a smart board or a computer connected to a projector and have students show what they've figured out with the simulation. You are discussing what you're seeing and what's happening, and the teacher poses some more questions, and you break off again and have this mix of exploration, and discussion to really make connections. The end of the lesson is a chance to help students synthesize and reflect on what they've learned. If time allows, one of the best ways is to have the simulation open and really taking their time to go back through. Then we can look at it and say, what did you guys observe? It was like first explore this, and then how does it work in your experiment? Then now, what conclusions can we draw on that small scale and then on a larger scale? It's always good to review your learning objectives, to go back over. Look where you were when we started and look where you are now. How many of you understood this when we first walked into the classroom today and we read the learning objectives? How many of you understand it now that you've done the simulation and you've done the activity? Finally, it's important to be flexible. I think one thing you have to think about in your classroom is to be ready for things to go different than you expected. Students are going to discover all of these things, and it might be something that you weren't aware of. It's okay to go off on a different path. It's easy with the sims because they don't have to get any extra equipment out. We can't do that in a normal lab. When using activities with PhET simulations in class, it can be helpful to start with open play and exploration. Circulate the classroom to listen in, solicit student ideas, help students make their own discoveries, check for students understanding, facilitate whole class discussions about their explorations, and wrap it all up by pulling together ideas, and showing students what they've accomplished. But you also just need to be flexible.