• Name: ____________________________________                    5th Grade Scientist


    L to J Science Study Guide

    Cool Spring Elementary Science Essential  Vocabulary

    (Each week assessments will show a progression of your knowledge.  You will be required to know the sets terms once each unit has been completed. Please study consistently throughout the year.)


    Matter: Properties and Change

    1. Water Cycle – The continuous movement of water between earth’s surface and the air, changing from liquid to gas to liquid.  
    2. Water Vapor – Water in the form of a gas.
    3. Evaporation – The slow changing of a liquid into a gas.
    4. Condensation – The changing of a gas into a liquid.
    5. Precipitation – Any form of water particle that falls from the atmosphere and reaches the ground.
    6. Rain - Water droplets that fall from the upper troposphere
    7. Sleet/Freezing Rain - Raindrops that freeze as the path through freezing temperatures closer to the ground.
    8. Snow - Ice crystals that grow larger and fall to the ground during cold temperatures near the surface of the Earth
    9. Hail - Droplets of water that freeze then rather than falling, get swept back up into a cumulonimbus cloud.  They go through a cycle of collecting water, freezing, falling, and being swept back up by updrafts in the cloud until they are so heavy they finally fall to the ground.
    10. Groundwater – Precipitation that seeps into the ground and is stored in tiny holes, pores in soil and rocks.
    11. Runoff – Precipitation that flows across the land’s surface or falls into rivers and streams.
    12. Transpiration – The loss of water through a plant’s leaves.
    13. Abiotic Factors - The non-living parts of an ecosystem.
    14. Biotic Factors - The living things or once-living organisms in an ecosystem
    15. Qualitative Data – Information about an object’s color, texture, smell, taste, size, and appearance.
    16. Quantitative Data – Numerical information about an object’s temperature, weight and volume.
    17. Matter – Any material substance that takes up space and has mass.
    18. Solid – A type of matter that has a specific shape, is three-dimensional and is usually firm.
    19. Liquid – A type of matter that is wet, can be poured and takes the shape of its container.
    20. Gas – A type of matter that will spread to fill any space that contains it and can be invisible.


    Thermal Energy

    1. Thermal Energy – The heating of any form of matter caused by motion or movement.
    2. Conduction – Transfer of thermal energy between things that are touching, but it also can happen within one object. (Think of a pot on a stove…the handle gets hot as the pot is warmed on the stove)
    3. Convection – Movement of thermal energy in gases or liquids (Weather and climate are heavily impacted by this movement in the atmosphere and oceans)
    4. Radiation – Transfer of thermal energy through electromagnetic waves (The sun is the main source of radiation on Earth.)  
    5. Electromagnetic Waves – The method that different forms of energy, including heat, light and sound, travel through empty space.   (When you listen to the radio, watch TV, or cook dinner in a microwave oven, you are using electromagnetic waves. )
    6. Convection Cell - A circle or pattern of air rising (updrafts), air sinking (downdrafts) and wind.  (This is the process by which the atmosphere is heated and cooled.)


    Earth Systems Processes & Structures (Weather)

    1. Atmosphere – The blanket of gases that surrounds earth.
    2. Troposphere – The layer of the atmosphere closest to earth’s surface; weather occurs here and all living things are found in this layer.
    3. Barometer - A device for measuring air pressure.
    4. Air pressure – The force put on a given area by the weight of the air above it.
    5. Low pressure – A measurement usually below 30 Hg. on a barometer and brings clouds and precipitation.
    6. High Pressure – A measurement usually above30 Hg on a barometer and brings clear, blue skies.
    7. Wind - Air that moves horizontally.
    8. Wind Speed – A measure of how fast or slow the air is moving.
    9. Wind Direction – The direction from which the wind is coming, not where it is going to.
    10. Wind Vane – A weather tool that gives the direction the wind is coming from.
    11. Anemometer – A device that measures wind speed.
    12. Temperature – A measurement of hotness or coldness.
    13. Thermometer – An instrument used to measure temperature.
    14. Rain gauge – A gauge used to measure the amount of water after it rains.
    15. Humidity – The amount of water vapor in the air.
    16. Hygrometer - An instrument that measures of the amount of humidity in the air.
    17. Jet Stream - A fast moving, narrow current of wind in the upper troposphere. (It has a powerful influence on weather patterns in North America and carries weather systems across our continent from west to east.)
    18. Hemisphere – One half of a sphere, especially the earth.  (Earth is divided by the equator into the Northern and Southern hemispheres and by the prime meridian into Eastern and Western hemispheres. North America is located in the Northern and Western hemispheres. )
    19. Latitude –  A measure of degrees north or south of the equator.  (The equator itself is at 0° latitude.)
    20. Gulf Stream Current – Warm water surface current in the Atlantic Ocean that moves from the south of Florida up the eastern seaboard and then across the Atlantic towards Africa.
    21. El Nino/La Nina –Oscillation of water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean on the west coast of South America. El Nino refers to the warming waters and La Nina refers to the cooling waters in the Pacific near the equator.
    22. Cirrus Clouds – The highest type of cloud in the troposphere made up of ice crystals; they look thin and wispy like a feather and do not ever bring precipitation.
    23. Cumulus Clouds – Low to mid level clouds that are white/grayish and puffy with a flat bottom.  
    24. Cumulonimbus Clouds – Dark cumulus clouds that stack vertically on top of one another form these clouds also known as thunderheads. (They can bring thunder, lightning, heavy rain and are the only clouds that can produce hail.)
    25. Stratus Clouds – Low level white or grayish clouds that are blanket-like and usually cover the sky.
    26. Nimbostratus Clouds - Low level dark gray stratus clouds that bring precipitation in the form of rain or snow.
    27. Trade Winds - A belt of winds around earth moving from high pressure zones towards the low pressure at the equator (0° to 30° N and 30° S).
    28. Prevailing Westerlies - Winds that blow from the west to the east that are constantly changing and move weather systems across the United States and other mid-latitude countries  (From 30°N to 60°N and  30°S to 60°S).
    29. Polar Easterlies – These are the winds that blow from east to west around the north and south poles (From 60°N and 60°s to the poles).
    30. Air Mass – A large region of the atmosphere where the air has similar properties throughout with same temperature and humidity.
    31. Cold Front -  A front where cold air moves in under a warm air mass (They pass through quickly and bring thunderstorms, wind and hard rain; the weather turns clear & cooler after it passes.)
    32. Warm Front – A front where warm air moves in over a cold air mass.  (They usually associated with stratus clouds that linger and can bring light rain/snow; weather is warm and clear after is passes.)
    33. Stationary Front – A front that happens when a warm air mass and a cold air mass meet, and doesn’t move.
    34. Occluded Front – A front that happens when a warm air mass is caught between two cold air masses and is pushed upwards.
    35. Rain-Shadow Effect – A dry area on a mountain-side facing away from the direction of the wind.  (The mountains block the passage of rain, casting a “shadow” of dryness behind them. )
    36. Isobar - A line on a weather map connecting places with equal air pressure.
    37. Sea Breeze - Wind that blows from sea to land during the day.
    38. Land Breeze - Wind that blows from land to sea at night.
    39. Weather – What the lower atmosphere is like at any given place and time.
    40. Climate –The average weather pattern of a region.


    Structures & Functions of Organisms (Cells and Body Systems)

    1. Single Cell – One cell organisms in which all life processes are performed in this one celled.
    2. Multi-cellular – Organisms that are made up of more than one cell and have different cells that perform specialized functions in the organism.
    3. Organism – An individual form of life that are capable of growing, reproducing and breaking down nutrients needed to live.  (They may be one celled or multicellular; Examples include plants, animals, bacteria, fungi and protests.)
    4. Circulatory System – The bodily system that consists of the heart, blood vessels, and blood. This system circulates blood throughout the body, delivers nutrients and other essential materials to cells, and removes waste products.
    5. Respiratory System – The bodily system that consists of the nose, trachea and lungs. This system is responsible for breathing…taking in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide.
    6. Skeletal System – The bodily system that consists of bones. This system provides the framework that holds up our body, it provides support for our body, it helps us move with the aid of muscles, it protects our internal organs and makes blood cells inside its marrow. (There are 206 bones in a human body with the smallest bones found in our inner ear. The largest bone is our femur or thigh bone.)
    7. Muscular System – The bodily system that consists of organs that are able to create skeletal movement. Muscles connect to two or more bones via tendons.
    8. Digestive System – The bodily system that consists of the mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestines. This system is responsible for the breaking down and digesting of our food into an absorbable substance. (Nutrients needed for growth and energy are absorbed into our bloodstream after digestion is complete and wastes are removed from our bodies through the work of the digestive system.)
    9. Nervous System – The bodily system that consists of the brain, spinal cord and nerves.  This system is the control center for physical and mental activities performed by the body.



    1. Genetics - The study of heredity and the variation of inherited characteristics.
    2. Inherited Traits – Traits that are passed down to an offspring by either of its parents through genes.
    3. Learned Behaviors - Behaviors that are learned throughout a lifetime of a plant or animal (Includes actions that are learned, like playing soccer or reading).  
    4. Acquired Traits - Traits that are not inherited and have been received throughout the life or a plant or animal.  (Included characteristics that are received after a species is born like a scar on person or animal.)
    5. Offspring – The descendant born to a person or animal.
    6. Innate Behaviors/Instincts - Inherited behaviors that are not learned but are done automatically without practice or instruction.  (Animals will be able to perform this behavior the first time when exposed to a stimulus. Examples include basic life functions, a bird building a nest, spiders spinning a web, dolphins leaping in the water,etc..)


    1. Ecosystem- All the living and nonliving factors in an environment, including their interactions with each other.     
    2. Population - All the members of a species in an area.
    3. Community - The interaction of all the living things in an area.
    4. Terrestrial – A land-based type of ecosystem
    5. Aquatic – A water-based type of ecosystem
    6. Estuary - A place where fresh and saltwater meet in a coastal area.
    7. Salt Marsh – An area of coastal wetlands located where an estuary or river meets the ocean. They are rich in marine life and are also known as tidal marshes. (One of the distinctive features of the salt marshes is their color. They are various shades of brown, gray and green. Salt marshes also occur in areas called estuaries.)
    8. Fertile - Producing or capable of producing abundant vegetation or crops; an area rich in nutrients that has the ability to support many plants.
    9. Species - A group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or reproducing.
    10. Biomes -  Earth's largest ecosystems with their own kind of climate, soil, and animals. The main biomes are Tundra, Deciduous forest, Grasslands, Tropical Rainforest, Desert, Taiga, Estuary, Marine/Saltwater, and Freshwater.
    11. Deciduous Forest - A forest biome with many kinds of trees that lose their leaves each autumn.
    12. Tropical Rainforest -  A hot biome near the equator, with much rainfall and a wide variety of life.
    13. Grasslands - A biome, where grasses, not trees, are the main plant life.  Prairies are one kind of grassland region.
    14. Tundra -  Large, treeless plain in the arctic regions, where the ground is frozen all year.
    15. Taiga - A cool forest biome of conifers in the upper Northern Hemisphere.
    16. Desert - A sandy or rocky biome, with little precipitation or plant life.
    17. Saltwater– The largest bodies of water found on Earth that consist of water that contains heavier amounts of salt and an divide the continents.  These include the oceans and seas.
    18. Freshwater  – Bodies of water that are found inside continents that are smaller and contain only trace amounts of salt.  They can be man-made, formed by glaciers, or created from erosion.   These include lakes, streams, ponds, rivers, etc..
    19. Continental Shelf -  The edge of a continent that lies under the ocean. A continental shelf extends from the coastline of a continent to a drop-off point called the shelf break.
    20. Plankton - All the small or microscopic organisms,that FLOAT or DRIFT in great numbers at or near the surface of fresh or salt water (They serve as food for fish and other larger organisms.)
    21. Nekton - All the aquatic living organisms that SWIM in freshwater and saltwater.
    22. Benthos - All the aquatic living organisms that are BOTTOM-DWELLERS in freshwater or saltwater. (They typically move or crawl along the dark floor of lakes or oceans.)
    23. Food Chain - The path of energy in food from one organism to another.  (Shows the movement of energy from producers to consumers to decomposers.)
    24. Food Web - The overlapping food chains in an ecosystem.
    25. Energy Pyramid – A pyramid shaped structure that shows the flow of energy in an ecosystem. The energy pyramid begins with the sun because it is the source of energy for the producers located at the bottom of the pyramid. (Energy then flows to the primary consumers (herbivores) to  the secondary consumers (omnivores) to the tertiary consumers (carnivores).)
    26. Producers - Any of the plants and algae that produce oxygen and food that animals need.
    27. Consumers - Organisms that cannot produce their own food and consume other organisms.
    28. Decomposers -  Any of the fungi or bacteria that break down dead plants and animals into useful things like minerals and rich soil.
    29. Photosynthesis - The process in green plants and certain other organisms by which carbohydrates are synthesized from carbon dioxide and water using light as an energy source. Most forms of photosynthesis release oxygen as a byproduct.
    30. Interconnected – Refers to organisms being connected to one another in an ecosystem. There are relationships in which one population impacts another population in an ecosystem.
    31. Symbiosis – Any type of relationship between organisms in an ecosystem.
    32. Mutualism – A relationship in which 2 organisms benefit each other without either being harmed. (Examples include flowers and bees, plover bird and crocodile).
    33. Commensalism - A relationship between two living organisms where one benefits and the other is not significantly harmed or helped. For example one animal attaching to another animal for transportation only or using a second organism for housing. (Examples include orchids which grow on trees, or birds that live in holes in trees).
    34. Parasitism – A relationship in which one organism is benefited, but the other organism is harmed (Examples include fleas on dogs, ticks on animals, mistletoe in trees, and mosquitos on humans).
    35. Salinity – The degree of saltiness in a body of water.
    36. Algae - Simple rootless plants that grow in sunlit waters in proportion to the amount of sunlight it receives.


    1. Force – A push or pull that acts on an object.
    2. Motion – The action or process of moving or of changing place or position; movement.
    3. Speed - Distance traveled divided by the time of travel.
    4. Distance - An amount of space between two things or people.
    5. Acceleration/Deceleration  - the change, either increasing or decreasing, in speed of an object.
    6. Inertia – The way an object resists change in motion (If an object is at rest, it will stay at rest; if an object is in motion it stays in motion until a force acts against it).
    7. Friction – A force that acts on a moving object, usually to slow it; works in the opposing direction.
    8. Gravity – A force of attraction between any two objects due to their mass.
    9. Mass–The amount of matter in an object (Always remains the same, either on the moon or on Earth)
    10. Weight - The measure of the pull of gravity on an object. (This would be different on the moon since the moon has less gravity due to its smaller size)
    11. Momentum - The ability for an object to continue traveling, a result of its mass and
    12. Velocity - The speed/acceleration of an object taken together with is direction of travel.
    13. Graph - A diagram showing the relation between typically two variable quantities resting on a x-axis and y-axis.