5th Grade Science Vocabulary List

5th Grade Science Vocabulary List
1. Acid- A substance that tastes sour and turns blue litmus paper red. (lemon)
2. Base- A substance that tastes bitter and turns red litmus paper blue. (soap)
3. Adaptation- A characteristic that helps an organism to survive in its
environment. (puffer fish, camouflage, migration)
4. Biodegradable- Capable of decomposing naturally by bacteria. (food, paper,
yard waste—leaves, cut grass, animals)
5. Recycle- To use again after processing. Items that can be recycled are:
plastic, metal, glass, paper, cardboard, rubber.
6. Boiling Point—Melting Point—Freezing Point- Temperatures at which matter
changes from one state to another.
7. Buoyancy- A property of matter. If something is buoyant, it floats in water or
8. Atom- Smallest unit of an element that still has the properties of that element.
Made of a proton, electron and neutron.
9. Cell- The smallest unit of living matter. (Plant cells have 2 things that animal
cells do not: chloroplast and a cell wall.)
10. Climate- The average weather pattern of a place over time. (Memphis has a
mild climate year round.)
11. Weather- Conditions outside (in the troposphere) at a certain time. (It will be
cloudy on Tuesday and rainy on Wednesday)
12. Symbiotic relationships (Symbiosis)- Relationship between 2 or more
organisms that lasts over time.
13. Mutualism- a relationship that helps BOTH organisms. (bee pollinating a
14. Commensalism- a relationship that helps one organism without hurting the
other. (barnacles on a whale, remora fish on a shark or sting ray, clownfish
living in a sea anemone)
15. Parasitism- A relationship where one organism is helped, but it hurts the
other organism. (ticks, fleas and tapeworms are parasites)
16. Static Electricity- The buildup of electrical charges on a object. Can result in a
17. Current Electricity- The flow of electrons along a path. (This is the kind we
have in our homes.)
18. Conductor- A material that readily transfers heat or electricity. (“All Aboard”)
19. Insulator- A material that slows or stops the flow of energy such as heat,
electricity, or sound. (“You better get back!”)
20. Constellation- Patterns formed by groups of stars. (Big Dipper, Little Dipper,
Orion, Pegasus)
21. Fossil- Any remains or imprint of living things from the past—plant or animal.
22. Friction- Force that opposes motion. Slows down or stops objects.
23. Photosynthesis- The food making process in green plants that uses sunlight.
24. Radiation- The transfer of heat through electromagnetic rays. This is how
heat gets from the sun to the earth.
25. Conduction- The passing of heat through one object touching another. (Pan
heated by touching the stove)
26. Convection- Heat moving through a liquid or gas caused by hot parts rising
and cool parts sinking. This is how things are heated in an oven, by heating
the air around the dish or pan.
27. Rain shadow- The dry area on the leeward side of a mountain.
28. Rotation- Spinning of the earth on its axis. One rotation takes 24 hours.
Rotation gives us day and night.
29. Revolution- One complete trip of one object around another object. The
earth revolves around the sun. It takes 365 days or 1 year for the earth to
revolve around the sun 1 time. The 2 reasons for the 4 seasons are revolution
and tilt.
30. Sexual Reproduction- The production of a new organism from a female sex
cell and a male sex cell. Requires 2 parents for fertilization.
31. Asexual Reproduction- The production of a new organism from a single
parent. Asexual Reproduction occurs through splitting, budding, or vegetative
32. Genetics- The study of heredity, or how traits are passed in genes from
parent to offspring.
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