NATURE OF SCIENCE
1. Science: the study of all things based on evidence through observation and experiments, often using the scientific method (question, hypothesize, experiment, collect data, conclude, share)
2. Theory: an idea that has been tested by many, many scientists and is now accepted to be understood (but can CHANGE if new evidence is found).
3. Hypothesis: An idea you can test.
4. Inference: a conclusion made based on your observations
5. Observations: information gathered by using your five senses
6. Model: A representation of an object or system.
7. Prediction: The process of forecasting what will happen in the future based on past experience or evidence.
8. Variables: A factor that can change in an experiment.
9. Qualitative: relating to, measuring, or measured by the quality of something rather than its quantity.
10. Quantitative: relating to, measuring, or measured by the quantity of something rather than its quality.
11. meter: unit of length in the metric system (we use a ruler, or meter stick to measure with)
12. celsius: unit of temperature in the metric system (we use a thermometer to measure with)
13. liter: unit of volume in the metric system (we use a graduated cylinder to measure with)
14. gram: unit of mass in the metric system (we use a triple-beam balance to measure with)
15. mass: how much stuff (matter, or molecules, or atoms) are in an object
16. length: how tall/long/wide something is
17. temperature: a measure of the amount of heat energy in an object/system
18. volume: how much space an object takes up
19. density: the amount of mass of an object divided by its volume (d=m/v)
20. KHDBDCM: the stair-step method of converting in the metric system
21. Light year: the distance light travels in a year (9.461 x 10¹² kilometers, which looks like this: 9,461,000,000,000km )
22. direct measurement: a measurement of something you can be near, or hold.
23. indirect measurement: a measurement of something made by measuring other things (when you can't get close to the thing you want to measure).
24. scale model: a model that is proportional to the object in all ways, whether large or small.
25. speed of light: 300,000km/s (according to Einstein's theory of relativity, the speed of light is constant, and ACTUALLY only 299,800,000m/s, not 300,000,000m/s) For comparison… speed of sound: approximately 340m/s (at 15°C, but it changes as temperature changes. Ever notice how things SOUND different when it's cold?) (NO HINT NEEDED)
26. Electromagnetic spectrum: energy that travels through space in waves (This includes radio, micro, infrared, visible light –ROYGBIV-, ultraviolet, x-ray, gamma) (NO HINT NEEDED)
27. Universe: All of space and everything in it.
28. Big Bang Theory: Theory that the initial explosion that resulted in the formation and expansion of the universe.
29. Edwin Hubble: American astronomer who demonstrated that there are galaxies beyond our own and that they are receding from ours, providing strong evidence that the universe is expanding.
30. singularity: the few millimeter wide beginning of the universe (from which everything expanded).
31. galaxy: a group of stars, star systems, star clusters, dust and gas in space
32. supercluster: a group of galaxies in space
33. milky way: our (spiral) galaxy, of which we occupy a VERY small bit of space on an outer arm
34. cosmic background radiation: the evidence of the Big Bang that is heat from the expansion.
35. red shift: the evidence of the Big Bang that is the color of light when objects are moving away from each other (red=moving away, blue=moving toward) (NO HINT NEEDED)
36. Isaac Newton (and his Laws of Nature): the scientist who established the principles of current astronomical thought which include the following (paraphrased): a. inertia, b. F=ma, c. for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. (NO HINT)
Isaac’s math supports what we now call the Theory of Gravity.
37. Inertia: the tendency for an object to continue to do what it’s been doing. If the object is in motion it stays in motion and if it is not moving it stays not moving, unless a force acts on it.
38. Gravity: the pulling force that draws anything that has mass to other masses. Gravity is related to distance and amount of mass. a. higher mass=more gravity b. lower mass=less gravity c. further away=less gravity d. closer=more gravity. (NO HINT for 37 & 38)
39. Orbit: moving around another object in space
40. Geocentric: the theory of the solar system that places the earth in the center, with all other objects orbiting it.
41. Heliocentric: the theory of the solar system that places the sun in the center, with all other objects orbiting it.
42. Ellipse: the shape of the orbits of planets, the asteroid belt, and comets/space trash in our solar system.
43. rotate: to move on an axis Mnemonic suggestion: rotAte and Axis both have “A”.
44. revolve: to move around another thing in space (orbit!)
45. solar nebula theory: the theory that explains the formation of the solar system (According to this theory, a cloud of gas and dust collapses under gravity to form a protostar, with material in a disk rotating around the newly formed star. The material eventually clumps together to form planets.) (NO HINT)46. nebula: a cloud of gas and dust from which stars and planets can form. When they’re dense with molecular hydrogen they are called giant molecular clouds (GMC).
47. protostar (or protosun): an early stage of star formation in which a GMC is contracting under its own gravity.
48. planets in order from the sun: mercury, venus, earth, mars, jupiter, saturn, uranus, neptune (MAKE a mnemonic if you don’t want to just memorize them, or use the one from elementary school).
49. gaseous: made of gas, as in the four outer planets (beyond the asteroid belt). They are also colder, and bigger, and less dense than the rocky planets.
50. terrestrial: made of rock, as in the four inner planets (inside the asteroid belt). They are also warmer, smaller and more dense than the gassy planets.
51. Astronomical Unit: the distance from the sun to the earth.
52. asteroid: a large rocky/metal object in space
53. meteor: a small rocky/metal object moving through the atmosphere (meteor SHOWER!)
54. meteoroid: a small rocky/metal object in space
55. meteorite: a small rocky/metal object that has landed on the surface of the planet
56. comet: an icy/dirty snowball that makes a highly elliptical orbit around the sun and has a nucleus and coma in the head, with an ion and dust tail that follow it as it goes around the sun. The tail ALWAYS faces away from the sun, because the solar wind pushes it away from the head of the comet. (NO HINT)
57. habitable zone: a narrow range of distances from a star in which conditions are suitable to sustain life (as we know it)
58. atmosphere: the layer of gas (nitrogen, oxygen & carbon dioxide mostly) that cover the earth like a blanket because of gravity holding them near the surface.
59. greenhouse effect: a planet’s atmospheric layers act like the glass of a greenhouse, permitting sunlight to pass through and strike the planet’s surface but reducing the escape of heat (infrared light) radiated from that surface. This is aggravated by the GREENHOUSE GASES: Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Nitrous Oxide, and Water Vapor. NO HINT
60. SEASONS Mnemonic: Angle of rays, length of days; nothing to do with how far away!
61. Moon phases: the appearance of changing shape that occurs as the moon orbits the earth due to the amount of the lit side visible from Earth.
62. waxing: getting larger (in terms of the moon, remember: light on the right is RETURNING) NO HINT
63. waning: getting smaller (in terms of the moon, remember: light on the left is LEAVING) NO HINT
64. gibbous: more than half lit, but less than full (in terms of the moon, right before and right after the full moon phase). NO HINT
65. crescent: less than half lit, but more than new moon (the shape of a sickle, or a banana). NO HINT
66. solar eclipse: a blocking of the light from the sun by the moon (this does NOT happen every month), during the NEW moon.
67. lunar eclipse: a blocking of the light that illuminates the moon by the earth (this does NOT happen every month), during the FULL moon.
68. Hydrosphere: all the waters on the earth’s surface, such as lakes and seas, and sometimes including water over the earth’s surface, such as clouds.
69. Water Cycle: The continual movement of water among Earth’s
atmosphere, oceans, and land surface through evaporation, condensation, and
70. Evaporation: The process by which water molecules in liquid water escape into the air as water vapor.
71. Transpiration: The evaporation of water from trees and plants.
72. Condensation: The process by which molecules of water vapor in
the air become liquid water.
73. Precipitation: Any form of water that falls from clouds (rain,
snow, sleet, or hail) and reaches Earth’s surface.
74. Infiltration: the downward movement of water into soil
75. Runoff: Water that flows over the ground surface rather than
soaking into the ground.
76. aquifer: water stored underground (in between rocks)
77. groundwater: water filling the spaces between rocks underground
78. permeable: water DOES pass through a material
79. impermeable: water DOES NOT pass through a material
80. stream: a channel where water is consistently flowing downhill
81. tributary: a stream or small river that feeds into a main river
82. salinity: the measure of or amount of salt in something
83. brackish: a mix of fresh and salt water
84. watershed: an area where all rain/surface water drains to the same river
85. Neap tide: the highest low tides and lowest high tides due to the gravity of the sun and moon working against each other. HINT // Occurs during 1st & 3rd quarter moon phases
86. Spring tide: the lowest low tides and the highest high tides due to the gravity of the sun and moon working together. HINT // Occurs during full & new moon phases
87. Deep sea currents: a slow continuous stream of water that loops through all the oceans driven by variations in density. These currents are called the global conveyer belt.
88. Surface currents: regular movement of large water masses in the ocean that flow across the surface of the ocean in defined paths caused by wind.
89. Ocean waves: a complex mix of water and energy generated by wind where the energy is transmitted across the sea while the water molecules move up and down.
90. Meteorologist – A scientist who studies the atmosphere
91. Air: the colorless, odorless, tasteless, mixture of gases that surrounds the Earth (air consists of about 78% nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen, with the remaining part make up mainly of argon, carbon dioxide, neon, helium, methane, and krypton in decreasing order of volume; air also contains varying amounts of water vapor, particulate matter such as dust and soot, and chemical pollutants)
92. Troposphere: layer of the atmosphere where weather occurs.
93. Stratosphere: layer of the atmosphere above the troposphere where planes fly (and Felix jumped from) and home of the ozone layer
94. Mesosphere: layer of the atmosphere above the stratosphere where there is little air pressure (but enough to start heating up meteors!)
95. Thermosphere: layer of the atmosphere above the mesosphere where there is almost NO air, but the molecules there are really moving fast, and charged ions create aurora borealis
96. Exosphere: layer of the atmosphere above the thermosphere where our “blanket of air” gradually fades to “outer space”.
97. Temperature – A measure of how hot or cold an object is compared to a reference point.
98. Atmospheric (or Air) Pressure – A measure of how much the air pushes against things (this is measured with a BAROMETER)
99. relative humidity- a measure of how much water vapor is actually in the air compared to the maximum amount that could be in the air
100. cold front: a fast moving mass of colder air overtaking a warmer mass of air
101. warm front: a mass of warmer air overtaking a cooler mass
102. stationary front: cold and warm air masses meet, but neither can move the other
103. occluded front: a warm air mass is caught between two cooler air masses
104. Fluid: any material that flows
105. Convection: the transfer of heat through a fluid
106. Radiation: the transfer of heat through space
107. Conduction: the direct transfer of heat from one substance to another substance that is touching
108. Heat Capacity: the ability of a substance to retain (hold on to) heat
109. Coriolis effect: the rotation of fluids on the planet in relation to the spinning of the earth
110. wind: the movement of air horizontally from high to low pressure
111. Local winds: the movement of air in sea and land breezes that result from radiation, convection and conduction with patterns due to the heat capacity of water and land.
112. Global winds: the large, general patterns of air movement on the planet resulting from radiation, convection and conduction. ex: polar easterlies, prevailing westerlies, and trade winds no hint
113. jet stream: extremely strong winds flowing in predictable patterns ~10km above the surface of the earth
114. Thermal Energy- the total energy of motion in the particles of a substance
115. Air Mass- a body of air that has a uniform temperature, pressure, and humidity.
116. storm surge- the rise in sea level caused by wind and pressure associated with a hurricane
117. Eyewall-where the pressure in a hurricane goes from high to low (what would you see in the low pressure area? high?)
118. Hurricane-a weather phenomenon in which an ocean-based storm has winds above 119 kph (74 mph) directed around an area of low pressure
119. Tornado-a weather phenomenon in which a land-based storm has winds above 64 kph (40 mph) directed around an area of low pressure
120. Supercell- a thunderstorm with a deep rotating updraft
121. cirrus- thin, wispy clouds generally above 6,000m
122. stratus- cloud forming a continuous horizontal gray sheet, often with rain or snow
123. cumulus-a cloud forming rounded masses heaped on each other above a flat base at fairly low altitude
124. nimbus- a cloud that rains
125. earthquake: when the ground shakes or trembles suddenly. These events occur naturally when rocks break beneath earth's surface, when rocks move against each other in a fracture zone (fault), when molten rock suddenly rises in the crust or even when a landslide occurs.
126. Lithosphere: upper layer of earth (solid rock, less dense, coolest).
127. Plate Tectonics: the current theory of how the earth's surface changes (not "continental drift", because we now know more than Wegener, who found FOUR bits of evidence that stand today: identical fossils on opposite sides of the ocean, identical rock layers on opposite sides of the ocean, ferns in antarctica, and puzzle-piece-shaped continents ).
128. Lava: molten rock that has erupted onto the earth's surface (also what the solid/hardened and cooled rock is called) as opposed to MAGMA, which is molten and UNDER the surface.
129. Magma: molten rock stored beneath earth’s surface
130. Igneous rock: rocks that form when molten rock cools and hardens under the surface of the earth.
131. Tectonic plates: the large parts of the lithosphere that move and cause geologic phenomenon (earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunami)
132. Convergent: where two plates move toward each other.
133. Subduction: the boundary where one plate goes under another (because it's more dense, and that's from being older, typically)
134. Divergent: where two plates are moving apart
135: Transform: where two plates are sliding past each other
136. Ring of Fire: pattern around the pacific rim of mostly convergent plate boundaries where volcanoes and earthquakes are abundant
137. mid-ocean ridge: the formation of basaltic volcanoes at a divergent boundary
138. Earth's heat: a result of TWO phenomenon, the original heat from formation, and radioactivity from materials inside the Earth. Know this: Earth has been cooling down from the outside-in, just like a loaf of bread out of the oven. NO HINT
139. hot spot: a place in the lithosphere where intense heat can cause volcanic activity far from a plate boundary
140. seamount: a mountain under the water in the ocean (can turn into a volcanic island if it's still on an active plate boundary or hotspot)
141. trenches: what forms when two plates are subducting (which is convergence with one plate going under the other)
142. Asthenosphere: layer of earth that is flexible and sometimes called the upper mantle (fluid rock, warmer)
143. Outer core: the layer under the mantle (iron and nickel mix, liquid, very dense, and quite hot)
144. Inner core: the innermost layer of earth (iron and nickel mix, solid, most dense, and hottest).
145. Crust: the brittle, rocky outer layer of the Earth.
146. Mantle: the thick middle layer in the solid part of the Earth.
147. Iron: a strong, hard magnetic silvery-gray metal; the chemical element of atomic number 26, much used as a material for construction and manufacturing, especially in the form of steel.
148. Nickel: a hard silvery white metallic chemical element that can be highly polished, resists weathering, and is used in alloys.
149. seafloor spreading: the evidence of the age of the rocks and magnetic stripes due to a divergent boundary under the water of the ocean that supports plate tectonics.
150. rift valley: what forms on a divergent boundary when the boundary is on continental, not oceanic crust
151. tsunami: a large wave caused by underwater plate activity (earthquakes) and landslides.
152. supercontinent: the assembly of most or all of the Earth's continental blocks to form a single large landmass
153. pangaea: assembly of the continental blocks dating from 270 million years ago.
154. sedimentary: rock formed from weathered and eroded rocks being compacted and cemented
155. metamorphic: rock formed from extreme heat and/or pressure
156. sediment: bits of rock that can be compacted and cemented into sedimentary rock
157. rock cycle: the diagram that explains how rocks can change from one type into another
158. rock: a naturally occurring solid combination of minerals
159. characteristics of rock (how to ID): color, texture, density, foliation (book-like pages), layers, grain and others (clastic/non-clastic, etc...)
160. deposition: the accumulation of sediment (often at the sea floor, but can occur in a riverbed, or after a landslide)
161. compaction: the slow process of pressure and gravity working to bring grains of sediment closer (making sedimentary rock)
162. cementation: the chemical change that "glues" sedimentary rocks together
163. mass extinction: an event during which most of the species on the planet cease to exist (die)
164. fossil: the remains of a living organism trapped and preserved in sedimentary rock
165. K-T boundary: a layer of clay with a large amount of iridium that dates back to 66 million years ago on Earth (K-T stands for Cretaceous-Tertiary, and is now recognized as being the Cretaceous-Paleogene, or K-Pg)
166. index fossil: remains of a living thing that existed for a short period of time, which makes relative dating of the rock easy.
167. Law of Superposition: older rock is lower than younger rock (care to be sure plate tectonics has not tipped the rock is key)
168. characteristics of a mineral (how to ID): hardness, luster, streak, cleavage/fracture, crystal structure, color and others (magnetism, luminescence, etc...)169. mineral: inorganic, naturally occuring solid with a definite chemical composition and a crystal structure
170. inorganic: abiotic, or not from life (never alive)
171. organic: from something that was/is alive, biotic
172. definite chemical composition: having elements or molecules that are the same throughout
173. weathering: the breaking down of material (rocks, specifically) by either chemical (acid rain, oxidation, etc...) or mechanical (root wedging, frost wedging, etc...) means.
174. erosion: the movement of material (rocks, specifically)
175. soil: the loose, weathered material on the surface of the earth where plants can grow
176. mechanical weathering - the type of weathering in which rock is physically broken into smaller pieces. (HINT: use textbook to find examples)
177. chemical weathering - the process that breaks down rocks through chemical changes. (HINT: use textbook to find examples)
178. contour plowing (terracing): planting on “steps” rather than a slope to reduce erosion
179. crop rotation: changing crops to avoid destruction by pests and loss of nutrition in the soil
180. wind breaks: rows (usually trees) to block the wind from eroding soil
181. cover crops: a plant that protects the soil but might not be eaten by humans
182. selective/clear cutting: only cutting SOME of the trees in the forest
183. soil horizons: layers that make up the very top of the earth’s crust
184. topsoil - mixture of humus, class, and other minerals that forms crumbly, topmost layer of soil.
185. subsoil - the layer of soil beneath the topsoil that contains mostly clay and other minerals.
186. organic material - a reservoir of nutrients and water in the soil made up of dead plants and animals.
187. bedrock - the solid layer of rock beneath the soil.
188. humus - the organic component of soil, formed by the decomposition of leaves and other plant material by soil microorganisms.
189. sand: small bits of silicon-based mineral (glass, when you melt it into shapes)
190. silt: very fine sediment (can cause pollution, and kill animals in water) particles are barely visible to the eye
191. clay: very fine sediment (can cause pollution, and kill animals in water) particles invisible to the eye
192. loam: fertile soil of clay and sand containing humus
193. commercial/organic fertilizer: material that adds nutrition to the soil (commercial is made in a lab or mined, organic is recycled from compost)
194. Contour line: a line connecting points of equal elevation on a map
195. Index contour: a contour line that includes an elevation level
196. Contour interval: the change in elevation between adjacent contour lines
197. Sustainability: meeting the needs of the present without limiting the ability of people, other species, and future generations to meet their needs.
198. resources: stuff we use
199. renewable resource: able to be produced again in a lifetime (renewable energy comes from solar, wind, water(hydroelectricity or tidal), geothermal and biomass)
200. non-renewable resource: unable to be produced again in a lifetime (non-renewable energy comes from fossil fuels (oil, coal & natural gas) or nuclear)
201. carbon footprint: the amount of carbon (dioxide) released into the atmosphere (by way of burning fossil fuels, typically).
202. fossil fuel: energy from dead stuff (mostly plants)
203. inexhaustible (infinite) resource: something we use that never runs out (the sun will likely always be available for humans, and the things it creates (wind and water energy) will "never" run out either) (NO HINT)