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ARTICLE

Earth system

Trying to understand how this planet we call home works can seem confusing – there are so many things going on at once! Scientists break down the way the Earth system works to a number of ...

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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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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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Water and ice

Looking down at the Earth from space, you can get an idea of just how much water there is. In fact, around 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water. Oceans make up about 97% of the world’s ...

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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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Water and weather

The water cycle is driven by energy from the sun. Liquid water is evaporated and changed into a gas. In this process, energy is absorbed (endothermic). The gaseous vapour rises and circulates in ...

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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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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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Observing clouds and weather

Wayfinder navigators always look for signs of weather at sunrise and sunset. This is when they try to predict the weather for the next 12 hours. One of the easiest ways to predict weather is to ...

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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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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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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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Snow and ice density

A small dataset showing the typical densities of snow and ice. Typical densities of snow and ice (kg/m³)   New snow (immediately after falling in calm) 50-70 Damp new snow 100-200 Settled snow ...

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Why is Antarctica so cold?

During winter, the average temperature in the South Pole is -60°C, but in the North Pole it is -30°C. Why is there such a difference? Three factors come together, resulting in the cold world we ...

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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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Antarctic terrestrial ecosystem

Antarctica is not just a land of ice and snow – it is the coldest, driest climate on earth. When we say the word ‘desert’, we might imagine sand and camels, but in fact a desert is any place that ...

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