NSDL teaching resources related to “system”

This article describes research on systems made up of small granular pieces, such as sand piles or containers of grain. In these “Collective” systems, the interactions of each of the grains with a few neighbors determines the properties of large systems.

Physics in Action: Granular Materials

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This site presents four topics and seventeen activities all related to the solar system. In this chapter students will investigate the nature of the objects in our Solar System, their behavior, and their associated phenomena. This is chapter five of the online book called Eyes on the Sky, Feet on the Ground, an exploration into astronomy as a classroom tool for learning how to theorize, experiment, and analyze data. The activities are fully illustrated and contain detailed, step-by-step instructions as well as suggested discussion topics.

The Solar System

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This article examines the idea that managing the Earth’s complex systems and their dynamics is the next great challenge for the engineering profession. The effects that human engineering has on the environment, whether intentional or not, must be taken into account on a global scale. Earth systems engineering is meant to do so by augmenting existing engineering disciplines by coupling the functionality of systems with the active management of the dynamics of fundamental natural and human systems. The article places the idea of earth system engineering into historical and global perspective.

Earth Systems Engineering: The World as Human Artifact

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This page introduces streams and channels and describes the geometry and dynamics of stream channels, including cross sectional shape, discharge, long profiles, base level, laminar and turbulent flow, the load of the stream, and floods. The site explains channel patterns, including straight, meandering and braided channels; erosion by streams; stream deposits, including floodplains and levees, terraces, alluvial fans, and deltas; and drainage systems, including drainage basins and divides, stream order, drainage patterns and continental divides.

Streams and Drainage Systems

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In this activity, you’ll build a scale model of the Solar System. You’ll need a computer on which to do the calculations, a long tape measure, and a whole bunch of space. This is a great activity to do outside with chalk on a long sidewalk block.

Build a Solar System

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Students have been examining Earth as a system of interacting parts, initially from the local perspective but more recently from the regional and global perspectives. In order to fully understand the Earth as a system and how its components interact with each other, students need to consider change over time. On relatively short times scales, these changes are related to the fact that the solar energy that drives the Earth system passes through an atmosphere that varies across space and time before reaching a spinning sphere.

Lab 7: A Year in the Life of the Earth System

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