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adaptation:  a characteristic of an organism that increases its chance of survival in its 



atmosphere: the layers of gas that surround Earth, other planets, or stars


atom:       the smallest unit of a chemical element that can still retain the properties of that



axis:         the imaginary line on which an object rotates (e.g., Earth's axis runs through

                   Earth between the North Pole and the South Pole); an imaginary straight line that

                    runs through a body; a reference to the line in a coordinate system or graph


carnivore:   an animal or plant that consumes or obtains nutrients from animals


change of state:    a physical change that occurs when matter changes to another state (i.e.,

                               liquid, gas, or solid)


chemical:    change a reaction or a change in a substance produced by chemical means that

                     results in producing a different chemical


community:  all the populations of organisms belonging to different species and sharing the

                      same geographical area


compound:    a substance made up of a combination of two or more elements held together by chemical bonds that cannot be separated by physical means; has properties unlike those of the elements that make up the compound


condensation:       the process of changing from a gas (i.e., water vapor) to a liquid (i.e., dew);

                              the act of making more dense or compact


conservation:       controlled use and/or maintenance of natural resources; various efforts to

                              preserve or protect natural resources


constellation:      a star pattern identified and named as a definite group; usually thought of

                              as forming certain shapes or figures in a specific region of the sky


consumer:              an organism that feeds on other organisms for food


decomposer:        any organism that feeds or obtains nutrients by breaking down organic matter from dead organisms


density:     concentration of matter of an object; number of individuals in the same species that live in a given area; the mass per unit volume of a substance in a given area


deposition:   layering matter in a natural process


earthquake:  the shaking of the ground caused by a sudden release of energy in Earth's crust


ecosystem:  an integrated unit of a biological community, its physical environment, and interactions


element:     a substance that cannot be reduced to a simpler substance by chemical means


energy:      a quantity that describes the capacity to do work; a source of usable power


energy pyramid:    a pyramidal diagram that compares the amount of energy available at each position, or level, in the feeding order


energy transfer:   a change of energy from one form to another (e.g., mechanical to electrical, solar to electrical)


environment:        the sum of conditions affecting an organism, including all living and nonliving things in an area, such as plants, animals, water, soil, weather, landforms, and air


equator:     an imaginary circle around Earth's surface located between the poles and a plane perpendicular to its axis of rotation that divides it into the Northern and Southern Hemispheres


erosion:      the wearing away of Earth's surface by the breakdown and transportation of rock and soil


evaporation:   the process by which a liquid is converted to its vapor phase by heating the liquid


experiment:   a procedure that is carried out and repeated under controlled conditions in order to discover, demonstrate, or test a hypothesis; includes all components of the scientific method


food chain:  transfer of energy through various stages as a result of feeding patterns of a series of organisms


food web (food cycle):     the interconnected feeding relationships in a food chain found in a particular place and time


force:        a quality that tends to produce movement or acceleration of a body in the direction of its application; a push or pull


fossil:              a whole or part of a plant or animal that has been preserved in sedimentary rock


friction:     a force that opposes the relative motion of two material surfaces in contact with one another


fulcrum:     the pivot point of a lever


galaxy:       a large collection of stars, gases, and dust that are part of the universe (e.g., the Milky Way galaxy) bound together by gravitational forces


gas:          one of the fundamental states of matter in which the molecules do not have a fixed volume or shape


gravitation: a force of attraction between two masses


 gravity:     the observed effect of the force of gravitation


 habitat:     a place in an ecosystem where an organism normally lives


heat:        a form of energy resulting from the temperature difference between a system and its surroundings


herbivore:   an animal that feeds on plants


igneous rock:      a type of rock that forms from molten or partly molten material that cools and hardens


inclined plane:      a type of simple machine; a slanted surface that makes it easier to move a mass from a lower point to a higher point


inertia:      the property of a body, due to its mass, that causes it to resist any change in its motion unless overcome by a force


investigation:      a procedure that is carried out in order to observe a response caused by a stimulus; not a complete experiment


 kinetic energy:    the energy possessed by a body because of its motion


lever:        a type of simple machine; consists of a rigid bar that pivots about a fulcrum, used to transmit and enhance power or motion


 life cycle:  the entire sequence of events in an organism's growth and development


light:          electromagnetic radiation that lies within the visible range


liquid:            one of the fundamental states of matter with a definite volume but no definite               



magnetic:    having the property of attracting iron and certain other materials by virtue of a surrounding field of force


mass:           the amount of matter an object contains


matter:      a solid, liquid, or gas that possesses inertia and is capable of occupying space


metamorphic rock:    a type of rock that forms from existing rock because of extreme

                                   changes caused by heat, pressure, or chemical environments


microscopic:        relating to an object too small to be visible without the use of a microscope


mixture:     the product of a thorough blending of two or more substances, not chemically combined


moon:            a natural satellite that revolves around a planet


moon phase:    a phrase that indicates the fraction of the Moon's disc that is illuminated (as seen from Earth);

                    the eight moon phases (in order): new moon

                                                                             waxing crescent

                                                                            first quarter

                                                                             waxing gibbous

                                                                            full moon

                                                                              waning gibbous

                                                                            last quarter

                                                                              waning crescent


nonrenewable resource:   a resource that can only be replenished over millions of years


organ:        a structure containing different tissues that are organized to carry out a specific function of the body (e.g., heart, lungs, brain, etc.)


organism:    any living plant, animal, or fungus that maintains various vital processes necessary for life

photosynthesis:    a chemical process by which plants trap light energy to convert carbon

                                dioxide and water into carbohydrates (sugars)


physical change:    reaction; a change in matter from one form to another, without forming new    



planet:       a large body in space that orbits a star and does not produce light of its own


pollution:    any alteration of the natural environment producing a condition harmful to living organisms; may occur naturally or as a result of human activities


population:  a group of organisms of the same species living in a specific geographical area


potential energy:   the energy an object has because of its position or structure; stored energy


predator:    an organism that preys on and consumes animals; usually an animal


prey:  an organism caught or hunted for food by another organism


producer:    an organism that makes its own food from the environment; usually a green plant


protist:      unicellular organisms belonging to the kingdom Protista


pulley:       a type of simple machine; a circular lever, usually a wheel with a groove where a rope can be placed and used to change the direction of a force


reflection:  the bouncing off or turning back of light, sound, or heat from a surface


refraction:  a change in the direction of a wave that occurs as it passes from one medium to another of different density


renewable resource:       a resource that is replaced or restored, as it is used, by natural processes in a reasonable amount of time


resource:    any material that can be used to satisfy a need


scientific method:         a plan of inquiry that uses science process skills as tools to gather, organize, analyze, and communicate information


sedimentary rock:         rock formed from layers of sediment that overlay and squeeze together or are chemically combined


solar system:       a star and all the planets and other bodies that orbit it; the region in space where these bodies move

solid:        having a definite shape and a definite volume; one of the fundamental states of matter


solution:     a mixture of two or more substances uniformly dispersed throughout a single phase


star:         a large, gaseous, self-luminous body held together by gravity and powered by thermonuclear reactions


Sun:          the closest star to Earth and the center of our solar system


system:      a set of objects, organisms, or different parts acting to form a whole


tissue:       similar cells acting to perform a specific function; four basic types of tissue are muscle, connective, nerve, and epidermal


topography:       the surface, shape, and composition of a land area


universe:    the total sum of all matter and energy that exists


volcano:             a vent or fissure in Earth's surface through which magma and its associated materials are expelled; generally a mountain-like structure


volume:      a measure of the amount of space an object takes up; also the loudness of a sound or signal


water cycle:        the path water takes as it is being cycled through the environment, including condensation, evaporation, and precipitation


weathering :        the natural processes that break down and change rock into soil, sand, and other materials; differs from erosion in that no transportation of those materials takes place


wheel and axle:     a type of simple machine; a circular frame or disk revolving around a central axis