Accumulations show how processes evolve over time

Here is a simple accumulation relationship, where the value of the acceleration leads to accumulations in the value of velocity.

The relationship seems simple enough: just repeated addition. But (as is quite often the case with elegant mathematical expressions) the words seem very convoluted. It may well be that acceleration accumulates velocity or more vernacular turns of phrase such as acceleration tells velocity how to change, alongside simple graphical representations of the relationship, will work better in the classrooms you know.

In elementary physics, it turns out that there are rather few of these accumulation relationships.

velocity accumulates displacement acceleration accumulates velocity power accumulates energy activity accumulates number and force accumulates momentum

With appropriate treatment of the tautological connections between these quantities, children could be well-prepared to engage with simple climate models. At the moment neither biology nor chemistry offers such a rich set of resources to support this understanding.

As regular, repeated addition underlies every accumulation relationship, the clock ticks away in the background, measuring out the progress of the process. As climate change models seek to predict future states from the current state, to predict what we expect to have to deal with, this kind of relationships plays a central role.