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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

Scientific modelling

In science, a model is a representation of an idea, an object or even a process or a system that is used to describe and explain phenomena that cannot be experienced directly. Models are central ...

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Ocean temperature

The temperature of the ocean determines what form the water takes. Most of the ocean is liquid water, but if it gets cold enough, it turns to solid ice, or if it gets hot enough, it can pass into ...

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Melting and freezing

Water can exist as a solid (ice), liquid (water) or gas (vapour or gas). Adding heat can cause ice (a solid) to melt to form water (a liquid). Removing heat causes water (a liquid) to freeze to ...

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ARTICLE

Bioindicators

A bioindicator is a living organism that gives us an idea of the health of an ecosystem. Some organisms are very sensitive to pollution in their environment, so if pollutants are present, the ...

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Insulation

In Antarctica, winter temperatures can vary from -70ºC to -15ºC – it is one of the coldest places to live on earth. To survive in the Antarctic, keeping warm becomes a very important focus, and ...

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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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Water density

Water density changes with temperature and salinity. Density is measured as mass (g) per unit of volume (cm³). Water is densest at 3.98°C and is least dense at 0°C (freezing point). Why does ice ...

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Ecosystems

What is an ecosystem? An ecosystem is made up of animals, plants and bacteria as well as the physical and chemical environment they live in. The living parts of an ecosystem are called biotic ...

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Soil formation

New Zealand has a wide variety of landscapes. A day’s sightseeing journey might include volcanic plateaus, rolling hills, river basins and coastal lands. It is easy to notice how the scenery ...

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ACTIVITY

Build a marine food web

In this activity, students build their own food web using images of organisms from the marine ecosystem. This activity can be done indoors on paper or outdoors on a tarmac surface using chalk. By ...

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The ocean and Earth’s systems and cycles

The ocean plays an important part in several Earth systems and cycles. This is hardly surprising, as it covers two-thirds of the planet’s surface. It is difficult to study any of these systems ...

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Ocean motion

The ocean has a complex circulation system, moving water, heat, salt and nutrients around the world. Surface currents in the top 400m are driven mainly by wind. Deeper currents are driven by ...

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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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ACTIVITY

Ocean acidification and eggshells

In this activity, students observe how chicken eggs can be used to simulate the potential effects of increasing ocean acidity on marine animals with calcium carbonate shells or skeletons, for ...

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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

Bioplastics

Bioplastics are plastic materials that are either biodegradable or derived from renewable resources or both. Currently, petrochemical-based plastics make up 99% of the plastics market. However ...

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Climate change, melting ice and sea level rise

One implication of climate change is sea level rise. Sea level is the average height of the ocean relative to the land, between the high and low tides. The rising global temperature is causing ...

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Antarctic life and ecosystems

Antarctica – a land of extremes Antarctica is the highest, whitest, driest, coldest and windiest continent on Earth. It’s so cold that creatures often retreat to the sea to warm up. Add 24 hours ...

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ARTICLE

Fertiliser

Just as we have essential needs for our growth, plants also have essential needs for their survival. These include: sunlight air water nutrients appropriate temperature. As long as plants have ...

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