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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

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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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

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

The flying tea bag

In this activity, students observe an empty tea bag that is set alight. The burning causes a column of hot air and gas from combustion to rise above it due to convection. When the bag is light ...

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ARTICLE

Chemical fire retardants

Chemical fire retardants help delay or prevent combustion, but there are potential health and environmental issues around the use and production of the chemicals, and the cost or possible harms ...

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ARTICLE

Slowing the burning

In New Zealand, we have a number of house fires, fuelled by the things we have in our houses. Our furniture is flammable and often causes fires to burn quickly and fiercely. Fire engineers ...

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ARTICLE

Detecting fire

We need to be able to detect a fire so that we can stop it or get out in time. Often we are the detectors. We can see smoke and flames, we can smell smoke and we can feel heat. Sometimes we need ...

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ARTICLE

Future fuels – introduction

Scientists think that about 14 billion years ago (that is a 14 followed by 9 zeros), this universe came into being through the Big Bang. This is described in the Big Bang theory. It is thought ...

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ACTIVITY

Putting out the fire

In this activity, students investigate different ways of extinguishing fire and how this is related to their knowledge of the fire triangle and fire chemistry. By the end of this activity ...

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ACTIVITY

Exploding Flour

In this activity, students observe the teacher igniting flour when it is in a basic combustion chamber. By the end of this activity, students should be able to: understand how surface area of ...

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ARTICLE

Investigating fire – introduction

We often hear about destructive fires in the media. We know that fire is dangerous and can cause severe damage and destruction and, at times, death. Since our earliest days, humans have sought to ...

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TEACHER PLD

Physical World – Heat

Below are links to Science Learning Hub resources for primary teachers related to heat in the Physical World strand of the New Zealand Curriculum. Primary teachers often consider heat for a topic ...

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ARTICLE

Fire – timeline

A timeline showing some events and disasters relating to fire and how humans have learnt to manage this chemical reaction. Early use of fire People use fire to keep warm, give light and give ...

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ACTIVITY

Drama in the microworld

In this activity, students use drama to model science ideas about atoms and molecules, transferring heat and the process of combustion. By the end of this activity, students should be able to ...

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ARTICLE

Future fuels – key terms

Exploring our energy options - the Sun is the origin for most of our energy sources. Humans have relied on fossil fuels in the past, but what will fuel our energy needs in the future? This ...

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ACTIVITY

Light a candle

In this activity, students take a closer look at a candle flame as an example of a flame that occurs in most natural fires and observe and investigate the flame and the process of burning. By the ...

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ARTICLE

Nigel Latta Blows Stuff Up

Nigel Latta Blows Stuff Up is a fun – and funny – series where TV personality Nigel Latta introduces some of the more dramatic aspects of fundamental science. The series offers a gateway to ...

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TEACHER PLD

Fire – unit plan

Fire is generally portrayed as frightening and destructive by the media. Humans have increasingly been able to manage fire by improved detection ability and improved fire control methods. In the ...

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ARTICLE

Nigel Latta Blows Stuff Up Episode 5: Fire

Nigel wants to find out what really happens in a house fire – by setting a house on fire. The science of fires is well known. What surprises Nigel is the speed at which a wooden structure is ...

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