Science Vocabulary


    Understanding key vocabulary is important in reviewing for the E-LST(Science State Test). A group of educators at Cattaraugus Allegany BOCES has developed a useful website (with linked activities and demonstrations) that can help students review the vocabulary most often required for good performance on the E-LST. The website is:

    1. Adaptation: when an organism develops a trait or characteristic that

    benefits its survival in the environment.

    2. Attract: when two objects are drawn together (two examples would be a

    metal paper clip and a magnet).

    3. Camouflage: a successful strategy to avoid an early death by being able

    to hide in one’s surroundings.

    4. Characteristic: an identifiable part of an object that becomes associated

    with that object (a characteristic of a snake is that it has scaly skin.)

    5. Condensation: when water changes its state from gas to liquid.

    6. Conductor: a material through which an electric current moves easily

    (such as, copper wire, a nail.)

    7. Decomposers: organisms that break down organic matter from a

    complex to a simpler form.

    8. Decomposition: the process of breaking down organisms from a complex

    to simpler forms.

    9. Decrease: a decrease means that something lessens or gets smaller in its

    mass or measurable characteristics.

    10.Displacement: the amount of a fluid such as water that is forced to move

    by an object floating or submerged in it.

    11.Disperse: to cause something to scatter in different ways.

    12.Energy: the capacity for doing work.

    13.Environment: all the external factors influencing the life and activities

    of people, plants and animal.

    14.Erosion: the wearing away and movement of weathered rocks and soil,

    usually by wind or water.

    15.Evaporation: when water changes its state from liquid to gas.

    16.Friction: the force that resists motion between two surfaces when they

    rub against each other. (Your hands heat up when you rub them together,

    that is caused by friction.)

    17.Function: the work or job that something does (the job of a hammer is to

    drive in a nail.)

    18. Germination: When a plant or seed begins to sprout or grow.

    19.Gravity: the force of attraction through which terrestrial bodies tend to

    fall towards the center of the Earth.

    20.Habitat: the natural environment where a plant or animal lives.

    21.Heat Energy: energy produced by heat (like when an ice cube melts.)

    22.Increase: when the amount of something gets larger or more

    measurable in volume.

    23.Inherited Trait: a characteristic of an organism that it receives from its

    parent (curly hair, eye color, cleft in chin).

    24. Insulator: Material through which an electric current will not flow

    (such as, rubber, wood, and plastic).

    25. Life Span: the length of time an organism is expected to live.

    26. Magnetism: the properties of attraction possessed by magnets.

    27. Magnetic Energy: the capacity to work when magnets are used.

    28. Matter (States of): solid, liquid or gas.

    29. Mechanical Energy: the capacity to work generated by a machine.

    30. Migration: the act or process of moving from one place to another.

    31. Nutrients: chemicals that plants and animals need in order to survive.

    32. Organism: any living thing.

    33. Precipitation: the water (in various possible forms) that falls through the

    air to strike the Earth.

    34. Predator: animal that hunts and eats other animals.

    35. Prey: an animal that is hunted and killed by another animal for food.

    36. Process: the steps involved in an operation or cycle (egg, larva, pupa,


    37. Producers: green plants are producers because they make their own


    38. Property: a characteristic or attribute that helps describe a substance,

    such as color, shape, size, smell and texture.

    39. Repel: one of the forces of magnetism, that drives two objects apart.

    40. Revolution: when something moves around one central point, as the

    Earth moves around the sun.

    41. Rotation: the act of spinning on one’s own axis, as a wheel turns on an


    42. Runoff: when water on the Earth’s surface is unable to sink in, and

    instead moves across the surface.

    43. Salivating: the act of producing saliva which results from smelling, or

    seeing a food or stimulus.

    44. Sound Energy: the capacity to work and produce a sound (like when the

    beating of a drum results in a noise.)

    45. Texture: one of the properties of an object that can be determined from

    its feel and/or appearance(sandpaper has a rough texture.)

    46. Transformation: when an object or organism undergoes a noticeable

    change in appearance or form.

    47. Weathering: the breaking down of rocks due to air, wind, water,

    temperature or chemical changes.