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Earth Science
A System of Cycles, Part 1



A System of Cycles, Part 1
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.67

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    thermodynamics, radioactive, internal, universe, atmosphere, reality, density, interior, transfer, material, external, budget, fantasy, produce, release, addition
     content words:    Mother Nature, In System


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A System of Cycles, Part 1
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     Your parents have a budget that they follow each month. You have a budget you need to follow each week so your allowance doesn't disappear. Mother Nature also has a budget for the Earth's energy.
 
2     Imagine, Mother Nature sitting at her desk balancing her energy checkbook. That's fantasy, but in reality the flow of our planet's energy is predictable. There are two laws of thermodynamics that explain our flow of energy. The first law of thermodynamics says that energy is cycled through systems. However, it cannot be created or destroyed. The budget of energy takes place during the transfer. Any addition of energy in our planet's system is balanced by subtractions of energy from the system. Energy from the sun is absorbed and reflected by our planet in the same amounts. Matter can also be transferred through the Earth system. It also cannot be created or destroyed.
 
3     The second law of thermodynamics says that as energy is transferred, matter becomes less organized over time. Simply put, energy is spread out uniformly in our universe more and more over time. Remember, our spheres on Earth are open systems. These spheres store matter and energy in reservoirs. There is a constant flow of matter and energy between these spheres.

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