5th Grade Vocabulary

      FCAT Science Glossary Grade 5

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

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 element

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 shape

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):

a)   new moon,

b)   waxing crescent,

c)    first quarter,

d)   waxing gibbous,

e)   fullmoon,

f)    waning gibbous,

g)   last quarter,

h)   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 a reaction; a change in matter from one form to another, without forming new substances

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:

a)      muscle,

b)      connective,

c)      nerve, and

d)      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