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PhET Interactive Simulations


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, World Languages, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Other

Resource Type

  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus


pH Scale

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  • In this interactive simulation, students investigate the relationship between pH and the concentrations of hydroxide, hydronium, and water using various everyday liquids.
  • Students are able to manipulate factors such as dilution and volume to determine how these affect the pH and concentrations.
Teaching Tips


  • The simulation includes molecular illustrations to help students visually compare the concentrations of hydroxide and hydronium.
  • There are three different levels of the simulation (Macro, Micro, and My Solution) that can be used for different grade levels and purposes.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers can create a free account to access the teacher tips document, video primer, and activities submitted by other educators.
  • The simulation is translated into over 70 different languages.


  • The Macro simulation screen can be used in lower-level science and chemistry courses to introduce the pH scale and the effects of dilution on pH.
  • Higher-level science and chemistry courses can use the Micro and My Solution simulation screens to explore pH quantitatively in terms of ion concentrations.
  • This resource can be used in a math class to highlight a real-world application of logarithmic functions and scientific notation. Students can view concentrations on both a linear and logarithmic scale to visualize the importance of logarithmic scales in specific situations.
  • Teachers can connect this resource to climate change by discussing ocean acidification. Some resources that can help build this connection include this interactive tool to visualize ocean acidification, this brief animated video, and this more detailed video for higher-level students.
Scientist Notes
This website provides an excellent simulation for determining if a liquid is acidic, basic, or neutral and how to predict how dilution and volume will affect the pH and concentration of hydroxide, hydronium and water. The PhET website provides teaching resources, activities and translations for kindergarten through twelfth grade students. This simulation would be a great addition to a classroom discussing the effects of climate change on ocean acidification.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • PS1: Matter and its Interactions
      • MS-PS1-2 Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.
      • HS-PS1-2 Construct and revise an explanation for the outcome of a simple chemical reaction based on the outermost electron states of atoms, trends in the periodic table, and knowledge of the patterns of chemical properties.
      • HS-PS1-3 Plan and conduct an investigation to gather evidence to compare the structure of substances at the bulk scale to infer the strength of electrical forces between particles.
  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Expressions & Equations (6-8)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.8.EE.A.4 Perform operations with numbers expressed in scientific notation, including problems where both decimal and scientific notation are used. Use scientific notation and choose units of appropriate size for measurements of very large or very small quantities (e.g., use millimeters per year for seafloor spreading). Interpret scientific notation that has been generated by technology.
    • Functions: Building Functions (9-12)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSF.BF.B.5 Understand the inverse relationship between exponents and logarithms and use this relationship to solve problems involving logarithms and exponents.
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