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ARTICLE

Heat energy

Most of us use the word ‘heat’ to mean something that feels warm, but science defines heat as the flow of energy from a warm object to a cooler object. Actually, heat energy is all around us – in ...

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ARTICLE

What is fire?

Fire is the visible effect of the process of combustion – a special type of chemical reaction. It occurs between oxygen in the air and some sort of fuel. The products from the chemical reaction ...

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ARTICLE

Carbon cycle

The carbon cycle can seem like a complex process because there are many interacting parts. Carbon is found in both organic (living) and inorganic (non-living) forms. Before we discuss the cycle ...

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ARTICLE

What is smoke?

What is smoke and why do some fires seem to have more smoke than others? Smoke is a collection of tiny solid, liquid and gas particles. Although smoke can contain hundreds of different chemicals ...

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ACTIVITY

What is the Earth system?

There are many interacting systems that make up the Earth, many of which are dynamic. These notes discuss the importance of understanding the concept of systems with emphasis on the water cycle ...

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ARTICLE

Fire behaviour

Fires behave differently. Some burn slowly and evenly; others are extremely hot, burning fiercely and quickly. Different fires have different coloured flames. Some fires start easily; others ...

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ARTICLE

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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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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ARTICLE

Pedal power

Competitive cyclists have power meters to carefully monitor their training and race performance. Power is a measure of how much energy is being changed every second. For cyclists, the effort they ...

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ARTICLE

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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ARTICLE

Forces and speed

New Zealand’s elite cyclists spend time in the wind tunnel at Canterbury University to find ways of reducing aerodynamic drag (air resistance). At high speeds, this drag is the main force that ...

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ARTICLE

Plasmas explained

We happily live in the Earth’s gaseous lower atmosphere composed of a mixture of gases – primarily nitrogen and oxygen. However, if we move upwards from the Earth’s surface, the environment ...

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ARTICLE

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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TEACHER PLD

Linking ideas, activities and lessons

In the primary classroom, even though teachers and students generally spend the day together, it cannot be assumed that students will experience their learning as coherent, connected or ...

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ARTICLE

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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ACTIVITY

Carbon dioxide emissions calculator

This activity requires access to two Internet sites: a carbon emissions calculator and a school emissions calculator. Students can use the online calculator to calculate and compare the amount of ...

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ARTICLE

Nuclear energy

For many people, the term ‘nuclear energy’ is associated with negative events and feelings. However, it is important to be informed about any topic before developing your own conclusions. What is ...

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ARTICLE

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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