Intermediate Ideas of Science

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Energy can be transferred from an object to another or the environment when a force is acting on it. However, the total amount of energy, always remain the same. The two main forms of energy is potential energy and kinetic energy while the two forms of 'energy in transit' (or types of transfer process) is heat and work.

Related Small Ideas of Science
- Conservation and degradation of energy
- Heat and thermodynamics
- Mechanical energy
- Energy and mechanical waves
- Energy sources

Objects can interact from a distance or when in contact, through the fundamental interactions. When these interactions occur energy is transferred or transformed. Depending on the acting force, we have different forms of energy.

Related Small Ideas of Science
- Electric and magnetic energy
- Gravitational energy
- Radioactive decay and binding energy
- Energy and mass
- Electromagnetic radiation and radiant energy

Energy is required for chemical reactions to occur. When a chemical reaction is triggered, energy is transform. All living organisms transform energy form one form to another in order to be able to fuel their activities.

Related Small Ideas of Science
- Energy in chemical processes
- Energy in organisms
- Energy in everyday life  



There are only four forms of interactions. Gravity, electromagnetism, the strong nuclear interaction and the weak nuclear interaction. Every motion or change of states is due to one or more of these interactions. The effects of these interaction can be observed in all scales of the universe.

Related Small Ideas of Science
- Gravitation and its effects
- Electromagnetism and its effect
- Strong nuclear interaction and its effects
- Weak nuclear interaction and its effects

When a force (or more) acts on an object, the object will either change its kinetic state or shape. Depending on the size and the direction of the total force the object can perform different types of motions. For objects with speed a lot small than the speed of light, the way forces act on objects is described based on Newton's laws. For objects with speeds, close to the speed of light the way forces act on objects is describe by Einstein's General theory of relativity.

Related Small Ideas of Science
- Linear motions
- 2-dimensional motions
- 3-dimensional motions
- Oscillations
- Fluids and gases in motion
- Impacts
- Rotation
- Microscopic motion



Earth is a small part of our solar system. The Sun is in the centre of our solar system; planets and asteroids orbit around the Sun. Some planets have moons orbiting around them. The Sun is around 110 times larger in diameter than the Earth.

Related Small Ideas of Science
- Earth and other planets
- The origin of our solar system
- Earth, Sun and the moon

Our Solar system is a very small part of our Galaxy, which in turn is a very small part of the Universe. Stars, planets, asteroids and moons are not the only objects in the universe. Nebulas, black-holes, neutron stars, white and brown stars are also found in the universe.

Related Small Ideas of Science
- Stars, their life and death
- Galaxies
- Planets, exoplanets
- Moons, comets and asteroids
- Cosmic radiation

Our universe was born from the 'explosion' of a singular point of infinite temperature and density 13.8 billion years ago. This 'explosion' is called the big bang. Since then, our universe is expanding.

Related Small Ideas of Science
- The big bang theory and the timeline of our universe
- Scales of our universe
- The origin of the elements



There is a finite number of elements in the universe, and they are all made up of the quarks and electrons. The number of quarks and electrons defines the behaviour of each element.

Related Small Ideas of Science
- Elementary particles
- Structure of atoms and isotopes
- Properties and categorization of elements, the periodic table

Atoms interact through the electromagnetic force and create molecules. Molecules can include atoms of the same or different elements. Each type of molecule has its own properties which also define how it reacts with other molecules. The use and role of each type of molecules in nature is based on its properties.

Related Small Ideas of Science
- Types of bonds
- Macromolecules
- Structure and properties of organic molecules
- Structure and properties of inorganic molecules
- States of matter
- Solutions, mixtures and their properties

Chemical reactions are the processes through which atoms and/or molecules interact and are combined. There are different types of chemical reactions but they are mainly categorized depending on whether the system releases or absorbs energy.

Related Small Ideas of Science
- Neutralization
- Chemical equilibrium
- Redox
- Chemical kinetics
- Properties and principals of reactions, formulas and equations (inorganic chemistry)

Nuclear processes can change the nucleus and consequently the structure of an atom. Nuclear process can release enormous amounts of energy.

Related Small Ideas of Science
- Nuclear fusion
- Nuclear fission



Subatomic particles behave differently than matter in the macrocosm. In these scales, particles exhibit both particle and wave properties (wave-particle duality). They are also subjected to the uncertainty principle, which states that their position and momentum, cannot be measured exactly simultaneously. Interactions of subatomic particles can cause the transformation of matter into energy and vice versa by emitting or absorbing specific quanta (a minimum amount) of energy.

Related Small Ideas of Science
- Quanta and quantum waves
- Quantum properties

Quantum phenomena occur due to the interactions of subatomic particles according to their quantum properties and obey the laws of quantum mechanics. Some of these phenomena are used in contemporary applications like the scanning tunneling microscope and quantum computing.

Related Small Ideas of Science
- Macroscopic quantum phenomena and applications
- Quantum phenomena



Organisms that are more adjusted to the environment survive and leave largest number of offspring than their less adjusted. Different organisms are selected by natural selection as the most adapted to the specific environment.

Related Small Ideas of Science 
- Adaptation
- DNA, Genetic information and  mutations
- Inheritance of traits  

All organisms come from a single ancestor. There is a large biodiversity in all organisms which is a result of mutations that occur in the DNA. Natural selection chooses the best adjusted organisms for the specific environment.

Related Small Ideas of Science
- Biodiversity and humans  
- Biodiversity, plants and animals
- Evidence of common ancestry and diversity  
- Variations of traits



The cell is the basic structural and functional unit exhibiting the phenomenon of life. Cells contain organelles and core which contains the genetic material. There are eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. They have metabolism and can transport substances such as proteins and lipids to the inside or the outside of the cell.

Related Small Ideas of Science
- Elements and macromolecules in cells
- Transport of macromolecules and production of energy in different cells

There are unicellular and multicellular organisms. Multicellular consist of several cells forming organs and organ systems. Microorganisms are usually unicellular. Several times they cause diseases and the immune system of the organism tries to eliminate them.

Related Small Ideas of Science
- Information processing  
- Organization for matter and energy flow in organisms  (food chains)
- Structure and function of organisms  (humans, animals, plants, microrganisms)



Ecosystems include organisms, abiotic factors and the relationships that develop between them. Energy is transferred from one organism to another through food and matter is recycled so as to be used again in food chains.

Related Small Ideas of Science
- Cycles of matter and energy transfer in ecosystems  
- Interdependent relationships in ecosystems  
- Ecosystems dynamics,functionning and resilience  
- Social interaction and group behavior  

All living organisms are affected by earth's surface, its materials and natural resources. There is no life without water. Its internal structure, the move of tectonic plates and large scale system interactions determine life and hide natural hazards for the organisms.  

Related Small Ideas of Science
- Earth's Atmosphere
- Earth's materials and systems
- Water on Earth
- Internal structure, Tectonic plates and large scale system interactions  
- Biogeology  
- Earth's surface (ocean and continents)
- Natural resources  
- Natural hazards  
- Earth formation
- The eras of Earth

Earth's climate depends on the impact of sun but is also affected by humans. These days all living beings experience a global climate change that has multiple consequences on organisms.

Related Small Ideas of Science
- Human impact on Earth  
- Global climate change  
- Weather and climate  
- Earth and the Sun  




PLATON is a two-year European project launched on September 2016. It aspires to provide teachers and school communities with a coherent teachers’ training framework which will update their current teaching practices. More particularly, PLATON aims to offer an open and innovative training framework to teachers of primary and secondary education which will focus on:

- Promoting student-centred teaching approaches;

- Promoting a holistic interdisciplinary approach;

- Support the use of online educational tools;

- Support the meaningful collaboration between teachers of the same school.


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