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ARTICLE

Solids, liquids and gases

Water is the only common substance that is naturally found as a solid, liquid or gas. Solids, liquids and gases are known as states of matter. Before we look at why things are called solids ...

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ARTICLE

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

Classifying and identifying ferns

Scientists currently consider that New Zealand has approximately 230 species of fern in about 50 different genera. They are widely distributed throughout the country, including around 42 species ...

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ARTICLE

The role of observation in science

Observation is something we often do instinctively. Observation helps us decide whether it’s safe to cross the road and helps to determine if cupcakes are ready to come out of the oven ...

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ARTICLE

What is a fern?

There are ferns in most New Zealanders’ backyards and local environments. Ferns are green flowerless plants with divided leaves that tend to grow in damp, shady areas. The developing leaves of ...

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ARTICLE

Describing the nature of science

When trying to describe the nature of science, it can be useful to think of science as a culture in just the same way that we think of the cultural worlds of art and music. We need to understand ...

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ARTICLE

Light and telescopes

The universe is full of amazing things, but we need help to see most of them. There are many types of light that our eyes cannot see, so we use instruments, such as telescopes, that can detect ...

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ARTICLE

Viscosity

If you poured some water down a slope, it would flow freely and quickly, but what about if you repeated the process with honey? Can you imagine how honey would flow down a slope? Sticky oozy ...

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ARTICLE

Reasons for teaching the nature of science

Why teach the nature of science? The short answer is that the curriculum requires it and research supports it. These are compelling reasons. The curriculum requires it Accurately conveying the ...

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ARTICLE

Tenets of the nature of science

Sometimes we assume that students will learn about the nature of science just by doing scientific investigations. This is no more valid than assuming a student will learn about photosynthesis by ...

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ACTIVITY

Observation and the mystery box

In this activity, students determine the contents of a ‘mystery’ box by making observations but without opening it, and parallels are drawn between this activity and aspects of the nature of ...

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ARTICLE

Myths of the nature of science

People have ideas about science based on personal experiences, previous education, popular media and peer culture. Many of these ideas are commonly held misconceptions or myths about the nature ...

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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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ARTICLE

Distances in space

Distances in space are really, really big. The Voyager 1 spacecraft is heading out of our Solar System at 62,000 km per hour, but even at that speed, it would take it 77,000 years to reach the ...

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ARTICLE

What is a plant?

What do you think of when asked to visualise a plant? Is it the feed crop growing in the paddock next door or a large kauri tree growing in a forest? Is it a tiny microscopic alga or the potted ...

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ARTICLE

What is in soil?

What’s in soil? When you pick up a handful of soil, what do you see? All soil is made up of inorganic mineral particles, organic matter (including living things), air and water. Inorganic mineral ...

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