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PhET and Pivot Interactives

How can I use PhET simulations and Pivot Interactives together?

Trevor Register avatar
Written by Trevor Register
Updated over a week ago


The University of Colorado Boulder's PhET Interactive Simulations have been a hallmark of science education simulations for decades. Any HTML5 simulation can be embedded into a Pivot Interactives activity.

Note: The PhET name and logo are registered trademarks of The Regents of the University of Colorado.

Embedding a PhET simulation

To embed a PhET simulation:

  1. Find the activity in your library or create a new one.

  2. Click Activity Content.

  3. Use the dropdown menu next to Add Component to select Embedded Web Content.

  4. Find the HTML5 PhET simulation you want to embed on the PhET website.

  5. Click the Play button to start the simulation.

  6. Copy the URL.

  7. Go back to the Pivot Interactives activity editor and paste the URL into the box labeled URL.

  8. (OPTIONAL) Many simulations have several "versions" that students can access, and oftentimes instructors want them to access only one or two of those versions.

    To limit which versions appear, simply add ?screens=listOfNumbersSeparatedByCommas to the end of the URL. The number(s) you put correspond to which versions (reading left-to-right) will appear to students.
    For example, to make sure that students only see the Intro, the URL would be
    Since this would be the only screen, students wouldn't see the selection screen and would be taken directly to the Intro version of the Pendulum Lab simulation.
    To have students be able to choose between only Intro and Energy, the URL would be:,2.
    When they launch the simulation, they would only see those two options:

When students open the activity, they'll be able to launch the simulation from within the activity.


While any user can customize the starting screen for PhET simulations, that's the end of the initial settings instructors can set for students when they first open the simulation. However, some of our activities like Intro to the Universal Law of Gravitation (with PhET-iO) take advantage of the powerful PhET-iO platform that allow us to program preset values for simulation parameters when students start up the simulation.

While all PhET simulations are free to the public, PhET-iO is a paid service that we are proud to support. Only Pivot Interactives content developers have access to this feature.

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