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Science Terms in Oakland County

Science Help: Glossary of Terms

Preparing your child for the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) world that will face them as adults does not need to be a challenge. Here are a few terms your child should know. Test your children yourself and ask for examples where appropriate.
  • Absorbent- a substance that soaks up liquid, or energy, and retains it.
  • Acid- a chemical that neutralizes a base. By definition, acids contain a pH balance higher than 7. There are many kinds of acid- citric acid as found in lemons, acetic acid in vinegar, and hydrochloric acid.
  • Alloy- a metal formed by melting and mixing two or more metals together. For example, brass is a mixture of copper and zinc, and bronze is an alloy of copper and tin.
  • Amphibians- animals that live on both land and water. Their skins are smooth and moist and they lay eggs in water. Frogs and salamanders are well-known examples.
  • Bacteria- small, single-celled organisms with no nucleus. Some are harmful, like salmonella, while others are beneficial, like rhizobia, which convert nitrogen in soil.
  • Carnivores- animals that eat other animals. Lions and tigers and polar bears, oh my! Panda bears are herbivores, and all other bears are omnivores.
  • Catalyst- something that changes a chemical reaction without being permanently changed itself. A catalytic converter in a car's muffler contains platinum which changes carbon monoxide, a toxin, into carbon dioxide.
  • Circuit- one or more conducting paths between the two electrodes of a cell or a battery of cells.
  • Climate- the weather conditions of an area- an arid desert, or the frozen tundra.
  • Conclusion- the result of an experiment, including an explanation, judgment, or opinion based on interpretations.
  • Condensation- changing from a gas to a liquid or solid, like morning dew.
  • Data- a collection of observations, measurements, and facts.
  • Dilute- to make a liquid thinner, usually by adding water.
  • Dispersion- the splitting of white light into the seven colors of the visible spectrum, like a rainbow.
  • Ecosystem- the relationships between the environment, its animals, and its plants.
  • Electron- a small particle of matter with a negative charge that travels around the nucleus of an atom.
  • Enzyme- a biological catalyst, that is, a substance that speeds up a chemical reaction in the body.
  • Evaporation- the process of a liquid or solid changing into a vapor as a result of particles leaving the surface of the material.
  • Friction- the result of two surfaces rubbing against each other. Air resistance and water resistance are examples.

For Tutoring in Oakland County

Call The Tutoring Center in Oakland County at (248) 509-7177 today to schedule a free diagnostic assessment for your child. Learn more about our one-to-one tutoring academic programs online.
  • Gas- a state of matter in which the particles move really fast and are very spread out.
  • Habitat- the natural home of a plant or animal.
  • Herbivores- animals that eat only plants. Nature's vegetarians include panda bears, horses, and cows.
  • Insoluble- a solid that cannot transform into a liquid.
  • Insulator- something that stops electricity, heat, or sound from passing through.
  • Joule- a unit of measurement of energy or work.
  • Keratin- a fiber protein found in hair and nails.
  • Kinetic energy- the energy found in moving things.
  • Liquid- a state of matter in which particles are close together, but randomly arranged so that they can move over each other.
  • Melting point- the temperature at which a solid turns to a liquid.
  • Mixture- two or more substances that are mixed together, but not combined, so they can be separated later.
  • Molecule- a group of atoms joined together.
  • Neutralization- the reaction between an acid and a base. The result is salt and water.
  • Neutron- an uncharged particle found in the nucleus of an atom with similar mass of a proton.
  • Newton- the measuring unit of force.
  • Omnivores- animals that eat both plants and animals. Examples include humans, most bears, chickens, and cockroaches.
  • Opaque- does not allow light to pass through.
  • Permeable- a substance that allows liquids to flow through.
  • Photosynthesis- the process by which plants change sunlight into food.
  • Proton- an atomic particle found in the nucleus with a positive charge and the same mass as a neutron.
  • Refraction- the change in speed and/or direction when light or other waves travel from one material into another.
  • Residue- something that remains behind, left over.
  • Sedimentary- an element deposited by wind or water, or the matter that forms at the bottom of a liquid.
  • Solution (chemical)- a mixture of two or more substances. Solutions dissolve in a solvent.
  • Synthetic- substances that are not found in nature, but man-made by chemical reactions. Polyester and nylon are examples of synthetic fabrics, whereas cotton and wool are found naturally.
  • Texture- the appearance, feel, and structure of a substance.
  • Variables- factors that can change in an experiment.
  • Zero error- a systematic error usually resulting from a measuring instrument having an incorrect zero. One example is not realizing that the ruler edge is not zero.

For Tutoring in Oakland County

Call The Tutoring Center in Oakland County at (248) 509-7177 today to schedule a free diagnostic assessment. Based on this assessment, we will develop a customized academic plan for your child. Find out more about our programs in math, reading, writing, and more on our webpage.


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