Modeling Convection

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Resource Type:Classroom Activities; Curricula and Instruction
Grade Level:
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Organization:American Geosciences Institute (AGI)
Summary:Convection is the density-driven movement of a fluid material. Often, convection is driven by either heating from below or cooling from above the fluid. When a liquid is heated, it expands slightly, which makes it less dense. The fluid with lower density rises up, in the same way that a party balloon filled with helium rises up. When the heated liquid reaches cool surroundings, it shrinks, making it density greater. It then sinks down toward where it was first heated. Many Earth processes are driven by convection. Convection moves ocean currents, weather currents, and tectonic plates. In this investigation, participants will model convection on a small scale using beets and water.
Earth Science Big Ideas:Big Idea 1; Big Idea 4; Big Idea 5; Big Idea 8
NGSS Discplinary Core Ideas:ESS2.A; ESS2.D
NGSS Performance Expectations:HS-ESS2-3; MS-ESS2-6
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:Developing and using models
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts:Energy and matter: Flows, cycles, and conservation; Systems and system models
Subjects: air; atmosphere; meteorology; oceans; plate tectonics; weather
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