SimBucket Science Simulations

Are you interested in how the world works? In this collection, you will find easy-to-understand simulations of common scientific phenomena, such as why a balloon sticks to a sweater, and how water forms a rounded surface.

The interactive science simulations in this collection are all designed for touchscreen mobile devices, and are meant to encourage exploration of a variety of topics in physics, chemistry, and biology. Each simulation in this collection was created by a practicing science teacher.

For the most up-to-date list of simulations and activities, or if you have an idea for a simulation of your own, please visit the Simbucket website.

  • DC Circuit Builder

    Play with resistors, light bulbs, wires, switches, a battery, voltmeters, and ammeters in this interactive circuit simulation. Place elements on the grid and watch as electrons move and bulbs glow. This is a “sandbox” simulation where you can add and remove circuit elements however you like. Simulate parallel, series, or complex circuits with ease, and watch as the currents and voltage values instantly change.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Balloon Charging Lab

    Explore the behavior of electrons in conductors and insulators in this interactive simulation. Rub the virtual balloon on a sweater to investigate why the balloon attracts to the sweater. Bring the charged balloon close to a wastebasket or a paper towel roll to see how the electrons respond to the balloon. Why does the balloon attract to both the paper towel roll and the wastebasket? What happens if you let the balloon touch the paper towel roll or the wastebasket?

    Grades: 6-12
  • Density Lab

    Use water displacement and a mass balance to determine the density of various objects in this interactive simulation of a classic physical science density lab. Can you determine the identity of the mystery substance from its density alone?

    Grades: 6-12
  • Drude Model Conduction

    Learn how electrons flow through a metal conductor using this interactive simulation of the Drude Model of electron flow. In this simulation, electrons are added to the right side of the thin metal plate. These surface electrons create an electric field that pushes the electrons inside the metal to the left. Eventually the surface charge on both sides balance and the electron current stops flowing. Learn more about this activity in the Support Materials below.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Graph Matching

    Move the blue oval left and right to control how Tiki Guy walks in this interactive version of the classic physics “Graph Matching” activity. Can you match the position versus time graph provided?

    Grades: 9-12
  • Keiki's Impulse Game

    Help Keiki retrace her steps in this interactive math problem. Use the spacing of the frosting blobs and Keiki’s mass to determine her initial momentum, final momentum, and the impulse required to change her momentum.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Lens and Mirror Lab

    Change the location of the object and use the ray diagrams to determine the location of the image in this interactive simulation of a lens and mirror optics bench. You can toggle between a lens and a mirror and turn individual rays on or off. Both converging and diverging lenses and mirrors are included in this simulation.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Melting and Boiling Simulation

    Observe the motion and temperature of water molecules in this simulation as heat is applied to a beaker containing an ice cube.

    1. As the ice cube melts, the water molecules are freed from their trapped state and can now roam about the glass beaker as a liquid. During this melting process, temperature stays constant at 0 degrees Celsius.
    2. Once the ice is completely melted, the liquid water molecule can now move faster and faster as heat is applied. This is seen as a rise in temperature.
    3. Once the liquid reaches 100 degrees Celsius, it no longer rises in temperature. Instead, the water molecules are moving so fast that they leave the container as steam.
    Grades: 6-12
  • Osmosis

    Watch the water molecules move in this osmosis simulation. By modeling ions in water as solvation complexes, this simulation shows why there is a net flow of water through a semi-permeable membrane from the side with a low solute concentration to the side with a high solute concentration.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Satellite Motion

    Explore the motion of a satellite as it orbits earth. In this interactive simulation, satellite motion is computed using realistic values for Earth’s mass, orbital radius, and satellite speed. Learn more about this activity in the Support Materials below.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Standing Wave Simulator

    Create standing waves in a virtual rope, or watch air molecules as they vibrate in a virtual tube in this interactive standing wave simulator. In this simulation you can individually adjust frequency, wave speed, and amplitude, or select and analyze pre-made harmonics.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Tennis Ball Cannon

    Explore the effects of air drag on a tennis ball launched up at an angle in this interactive simulation. This simulation uses the classic air drag model (force proportional to speed) and realistic default values for a tennis ball to simulate the distance traveled by a tennis ball at various speeds and launch angles. Try the default values, then turn down the drag coefficient and watch what happens!

    Grades: 9-12
  • Water Simulation

    Explore the behavior of water molecules in this interactive simulation as they bounce, ricochet, and attract each other. How does the behavior of the molecules change when the temperature goes up?

    Please Note – this is a 2-dimensional simulation, and does not show the 3-dimensional formation of ice crystals.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Skydiving

    Explore air drag in this interactive simulation by dropping a can of frosting or a gold brick. Use a variety of parachutes to change the amount of air drag on the falling object. Does a heavier object really fall faster?

    Grades: 9-12
  • Rocket Sled

    Explore the relationship between thrust, drag, friction, weight, and acceleration in this interactive simulation. Use the slider to control the thrusters and the buttons to control mass, friction, and air drag. Can you make the sled stop on a particular rock?

    Grades: 9-12