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Swimmy LogoFree and complete software providing experience with neurophysiological phenomena and mechanisms of motor pattern generation in virtual neural circuits.  Student manuals also provided.

About Swimmy

Swimmy is an instructional tool for teaching neurophysiology that requires only a computer.  Swimmy is a virtual fish that swims, moving its virtual tail by means of a virtual neural circuit.  Swimmy offers students the opportunity to approach a conceptually challenging task of scientific discovery and to get practical experience with the basics of neurophysiology--without the impediments of in vivo or in vitro neurophysiology experiments.  Swimmy is available for free, along with student and instructor tutorials.

Read the published article (from the Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, Fall 2008, 7(1):A1-A8) about the Swimmy module as a teaching tool:


Download Swimmy Files

Students and Faculty can download the Swimmy Program and Swimmy Tutorials for free.


(1)  Download the Swimmy Program

In order to download the Swimmy program, you must first fill out the User Consent/Download Questionnaire (after which you will be directed to the download links).  Note that you will still be allowed to download Swimmy even if you choose NOT to consent to anything.

There are four versions of the program available for the following operating systems:

  • Windows
  • Mac OS 10.5.8 through Mac OS 10.11.X (Mojave)
  • Mac OS 10.14.X (Mojave)
  • Mac OS 10.15.X and up (including BigSur Mac OS 11.X)
Be sure to click the link suited for your system.  Each respective link will take your to a Box page containing all the files needed for the program.  Do not download the files individually; instead click the DOWNLOAD button at the top right of the Box page to download the entire folder as a ZIP file.  Be sure to unzip the file (right-click + Extract in Windows; double-click in Mac).

Download the Swimmy program now:


The Swimmy program was created by Franklin B. Krasne.  The Mac versions were developed by Dylan Hirsch-Shell, Ryan GrgurichAndrew Howe, and Paolo Gaudiel.

(2)  Take the Student Pre-Test

If you are a student and are about to begin the Swimmy module, please take our Pre-Test [NOTE: this will NOT affect your grade].  We are asking you to participate in a study on the efficacy of the teaching module delivered by your instructor.  This study will help us to revise this teaching module to make it more effective and to develop new modules in the future so that they are educationally effective, are easy to understand, and successfully meet student needs.  Not only will your participation help us make better teaching modules, but your participation may also help your understanding of the material (again, this will not figure into your grade).

-->  We ask that you take a short Pre-Test BEFORE the material is presented and also take an idential Post-Test AFTER the module has ended.  These little quizzes will help us gauge your gains from this module.  The quiz can be taken over the web and should take about 10 minutes.  When you take the tests online, please use the SAME, real email address each time, as we will need them for tracking data.

-->  Since we are going to ask you to take the quiz as well as fill out an opinion questionnaire after the unit is completed, we request that you give us your email address so that we can send you one, and ONLY one, reminder email.  We will NOT be sending you any further emails, nor will we submit your email address to any outside sources.  Note: providing you email address is voluntary, as is your participation in this study (see below).

-->  Participation in this study is completely voluntary.  You are not required to participate to receive or use the materials included in this module.

-->  First download the Questions (PDF) then input your answers into the Answer Form (electronic).

  • Student Pre-Test - Questions (PDF)
  • Student Pre-Test - Answer Form (electronic)


(3)  Download the Swimmy Tutorials:


(4)  Take the Student Post-Test:  If you are a student and have completed the Swimmy module, please provide us with your level of scientific knowledge coming out of the module by taking the following Post-Test (regardless of what Pre-Test you took, Option A or Option B, you will take the same Post-Test as everyone else).
  • Student Post-Test - Questions (PDF)
  • Student Post-Test - Answer Form (electronic)


(5)  Fill out the Student Materials Evaluation:  If you are a student and have completed the Swimmy module, please provide us with basic feedback on the materials used in this module by filling out the multiple choice Materials Evaluation.
  • Student Materials Evaluation Q&A (electronic)


For UCLA Students Only

If you are a UCLA student that is currently enrolled in either Neuroscience 101L or Psychology 116, and beginning the Swimmy module, please make sure you have received a hard-copy of the Swimmy Quiz questions from your instructor and input your answers in the electronic form below.  You are required to give your name and student ID number for record-keeping, and your form will be time-stamped to ensure that you meet the submission deadline for credit.
[Note:  This is NOT the Swimmy Pre-Test, Post-Test, or Materials Evaluation.]
  • Swimmy Quiz Answer Form (8 Questions)
If you encounter any website errors while submitting this form, please e-mail Natalie at, and be sure to put something informative, like "Swimmy Quiz Error", in the subject line.


For Faculty

Faculty members interested in accessing faculty-related materials will need to obtain an account.  You will first be asked to fill out a consent form.  Please see the Faculty Web Page for more information:

Faculty members that already have an account may log in and go directly to the Faculty Swimmy Web Page:

which includes:

  1. original .doc versions of all Swimmy tutorials
  2. Swimmy Instructor's Manual
  3. Swimmy Quiz Questions
  4. Swimmy Quiz Answers
  5. Swimmy Final Report Grading Keys

If you are a faculty member that has individually completed or taught the Swimmy Module, please provide us with basic feedback on the materials used in this module by filling out the multiple choice Faculty Materials Evaluation:

  • Faculty Materials Evaluation



(1)  Read the published article (from the Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, Fall 2008, 7(1):A1-A8) about the Swimmy teaching tool.

(2)  Watch a video that provides an overview about the Swimmy teaching tool. 
Swimmy Youtube Video
(3)  Institution Review Board (IRB) exemption documentation.  (NOTE: Viewing this PDF file requires login.)


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License Information

Modular Digital Course in Undergraduate Neuroscience Education—Revised: Swimmy by Franklin B. Krasne is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Based on a work at

Creative Commons License


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National Science Foundation            UCLA Office of Instructional Development

Funded by the National Science Foundation and the UCLA Office of Instructional Development