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ARTICLE

Humans and the water cycle

We are becoming increasingly aware of our impacts on nature, but unfortunately many of the things we do have become so ingrained in our way of life that it is hard to change. Different countries ...

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ARTICLE

What is energy?

This is both a simple and complex question. Energy is in everything – it is often described as ‘the ability to do work’. Almost all food energy comes originally from sunlight. The chemical ...

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Non-renewable energy sources

Energy comes from many sources, and to describe these sources we use two terms: renewable and non-renewable. Non-renewable energy resources cannot be replaced – once they are used up, they will ...

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Lightning explained

Lightning is a large-scale natural spark discharge that occurs within the atmosphere or between the atmosphere and the Earth’s surface. On discharge, a highly electrically conductive plasma ...

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Energy sources through time – timeline

Use this timeline to explore how humans have relied on fossil fuels in the past and how we are looking for, and using, new energy sources. 200,000 BC - Fire used Records of the first controlled ...

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Electricity and sensors

All materials are made up of tiny particles called atoms. Atoms are made up of even smaller particles called protons, neutrons and electrons. The protons found in the atom have a positive charge ...

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Renewable energy sources

Renewable energy is fuel that comes from a source that can be replenished in a short amount of time. This includes solar, wind, water, geothermal power and bioenergy. While renewable energy ...

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Using solar energy

Solar energy is transformed into other energy forms for our use on Earth – energy for food (chemical energy), electrical energy and heat energy. Food Solar energy (sunlight) is crucial for our ...

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Hydro power

Hydro power uses water to generate electricity. Most hydro electricity is generated from fresh water, but there is also marine-generated electricity that uses the movement of waves. Rivers flow ...

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Resistors

Resistors control how much electric charge flows through a circuit each second – the size of the current in the circuit. They do this by controlling how difficult it is for electric charges to ...

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Solar power

The Sun is the ‘powerhouse’ of our Earth, producing an impressive 3.8x1026joules (J) of heat energy per second without interruption. The Sun radiates in all directions with approximately 50% of ...

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ARTICLE

Radical bike redesign

The YikeBike is a light, foldable, easily portable, electric bicycle. It is a radical redesign of the traditional bicycle. Christchurch inventor and entrepreneur Grant Ryan developed the ...

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Plasmas and nuclear fusion

Fusion is the process occurring within the plasma core of our Sun in which the nuclei of lighter atoms link to form a heavier atom. For example, when hydrogen nuclei collide, they can fuse into ...

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Gaseous atmosphere

The Earth’s atmosphere is a layer of gases held close to its surface by gravity. It plays a crucial role in supporting plant and animal life, helps to maintain a global average surface ...

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Solar energy

The Sun is the source of almost all our energy. It is a huge ball of hot gases that gives off energy as heat and light. This is called solar energy, which just means energy from the Sun. The ...

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ACTIVITY

Testing for conductivity

In this activity, students construct simple electrical circuits and test a variety of materials to identify those that are good conductors and those that do not conduct electricity. By the end of ...

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Global positioning system (GPS)

Since the global positioning system (GPS) became fully operational in the mid-1990s, it’s widely used to navigate, map and survey land as well as study the small changes in movement of objects on ...

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Alternative conceptions about energy

Our use of language in everyday life is often quite different to the language of scientists. This can sometimes be confusing because what scientists mean and what most people mean are two ...

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