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A model is something that represents a real object or activity. We make models to help us to understand things and to predict how they will behave.

The model can be:

A 3D physical model or a two-dimensional map.

A 2D or 3D diagram inside your head, helping you work things out

computer software that simulates the real thing
(such as the weather) so that we can predict what it will do. The computer model can provide information in ways that we can understand, like graphs and pictures.

Do you understand how tiny invisible particles of gas bash the sides of a container? Can you picture them? That’s a model that you learn in Science. It’s a useful model because it lets us predict what gases will do.

Predicting what gases will do allows people to make: car engines, jet engines, light bulbs, fluorescent lamps, TVs, fridges, pipelines, spacecraft.

Activity: Are models all they're cracked up to be?

  • On a piece of paper, write down an example of a model that you’ve learned about in studying Science. Don’t write your name on the paper.
  • Pass your pieces of paper to other people in the class or in a smaller group.
  • DISCUSS the different examples of models that people have written. Are they all really models? Are they useful models?

  Computer models

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