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01/07/2016

 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.

  • Accuracy- the properties of a measuring instrument. Adhesive- a sticky substance, like glue. 
  • Amphibians- animals that live in water and land. They generally have smooth, moist skin and lay eggs in water. Frogs and salamanders are well-known examples.
  • Apparatus- equipment used to carry out an experiment.
  • Atom- the smallest unit of matter that can exist and be part of a chemical reaction. Atomic is the adjective form.
  • Battery- a number of electrical cells connected in a series to give a higher voltage than a single cell.
  • Bedrock- solid rock immediately beneath the earth's surface soil. 
  • Biodegradable- material that decays relatively quickly after its use.
  • Bond- something that is bound, fastened, or joined together.
  • Bulb- the ball part of a root, like an onion.
  • Compound- a substance containing two or more elements.
  • Concave- a lens or other object that curves inward. Light passing through a concave lens will disperse.
  • Convex- a lens or other object that curves outward. Light rays passing through a convex lens will converge.
  • Decompose- the breaking down of parts from a whole, like in rotting or decay.
  • Dense- containing very closely-packed particles.
  • Dissolution- the result of adding a solute to a solvent. The particles of the solvent go in between the particles of the solute. The solute can be recovered through evaporation. 
  • Element- a pure substance consisting of only one kind of atom which cannot be broken down into simpler elements.
  • Expand- increasing the size of a substance with heat. Heat causes the particles to move more quickly and further apart.
  • Fair Test- an experiment in which only one variable is changed at a time to allow for a more valuable comparison.


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  • Gravity- the force of attraction between two objects. As mass increases, so does gravity, and the force decreases as the objects move further apart. 
  • Humidity- the measure of the amount of water in the air.
  • Humus- decaying plants and animals found in soil.
  • Infiltration- passing of a liquid or gas through a filter to separate out solids. 
  • Larva(e)- an insect that is still in its caterpillar state.
  • Magnetic- materials that are repelled or attracted to magnets.
  • Matter- the material that makes up all objects.
  • Metamorphic (geological)- the complete change of a rock's original state by pressure and heat. 
  • Methodology- a system of methods employed for a particular activity or experiment. 
  • Minibeasts- small animals, like insects.
  • Nectar- sweet fluid from flowers that bees use to make honey.
  • Nocturnal- animals that are active at night, like owls.
  • Orbit- the elliptical path that one object takes around another, like the earth around the sun or the moon around the earth.
  • Pipette- a thin tube used to measure liquids.
  • Pole (magnetic)- the strongest, most extreme part of a magnet.
  • Predator- an animal that kills other animals, called their prey, for food. A lion is a predator and an elk is its prey. 
  • Protein- nitrogen compounds that are essential for life, making up muscle, hair, and other structural components of body tissue.
  • Reflection- the change in direction when light or a wave rebounds at the boundary of another material.
  • Specimen- a sample of blood, urine, or tissue used for analysis.
  • Stalactite- calcium carbonate that drips down from the ceiling of a cave.
  • Stalagmite- the same substance as a stalactite, but rises from the floor of a cave.
  • Symmetrical- two halves that are identical to each other. The wings of butterflies, for example, are symmetrical.
  • Tectonic plates- large sections of the earth's crust and upper mantle. Their movement causes earthquakes.
  • Vertebrates- animals with a backbone, like humans, cats, birds, and snakes. Invertebrates do not have a backbone, and include jellyfish, spiders, and squid.
  • Volume- the amount of space something occupies, measured in cubic centimeters for scientific purposes. Everyday measures of volume include the gallon, tablespoon, and liter. 
  • Wavelength- the distance between one wave peak to the next along a wave.
  • Weight- a measurement of the force of gravity on an object.


For Tutoring in Orlando, FL

Call The Tutoring Center in Orlando, FL at (407) 614-5980 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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