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independent variable

The thing you are testing and change; goes on the x-axis; there is only one.


parts of the experiment must remain the same; there are multiple.

dependent variable

The result you MEASURE; goes on the y axis; there is only one.


Any push or pull which causes something to move or change its speed or direction; can be BALANCED or UNBALANCED;

Balanced forces

equal in size and opposite in direction

unbalanced forces

not equal in size and/or opposite in direction; a net force results.


A force that opposes or slows down motion; Caused by the physical contact between moving surfaces; The amount of depends upon the kinds of surfaces and the force pressing the surfaces together; Changes motion into heat.


A change in position of an object compared to a reference point


The rate of change in position; or distance ÷ time


Speed plus direction


The rate of change in velocity

Positive acceleration

speeding up

Negative acceleration

slowing down (decelerate)

First Law (Law of Inertia)

An object at rest stays at rest or an object in motion, stays in motion (in the same direction/at the same speed) unless acted upon by an unbalanced force


The tendency of an object to resist any change in its motion

Second law (Law of Force and Acceleration)

The greater the force, the greater the acceleration, The greater the mass, the greater the force needed for the same acceleration. Calculated by: F = ma

Third law (Law of Action-Reaction)

For every action force, there is an equal and opposite reaction force. (Forces are always paired)

Potential Energy

Energy of position

Kinetic Energy

Energy of motion

Atomic Number

The number of protons

Atomic Mass

The sum of the number of protons and neutrons


Positive charge; inside the nucleus- identifies the atom; 1 atomic mass unit


Negative charge; in electron cloud / orbiting around nucleus- determines reactivity of element; Almost zero mass: 1/1836 amu!


Neutral charge; inside the nucleus- just adds mass/weight; 1 atomic mass unit


center of atom; contains protons and neutrons

electron cloud

outer part of atom; contains electrons


tell the number of electron rings

Group number

number of valence electrons

Chemical Property

ability of an element or compound to react with another substance.

H-R Diagram

Shows the relationship between color, temperature, magnitude & size of stars

Spiral Galaxy

a galaxy with a bulge in center & distinctive spiral arms

Elliptical Galaxy

a spherical or elongated galaxy

Irregular Galaxy

any other type of galaxy

Full moon

all of surface facing Earth is illuminated by the Sun

New moon

moon is between Earth & Sun, so lit portion is facing away from Earth

Waxing moon

lit portion of the moon is "growing"

Waning moon

lit portion of the moon is "decreasing"

Gibbous moon

larger than ½ of the moon lit

Crescent moon

smaller than ½ of the moon lit


daily rise & fall in ocean water level

Spring tides

moon and sun pull together = largest tides

Neap tide

moon and sun pull against each other = weakest tides


spin of object on its axis; responsible for day vs. night


path of one object around another; also called an orbit

Radiant Energy

energy from the sun


condition changes from day to day


a region's general pattern of weather over a long period of time.


cool air (or water) is more dense than warm, so it sinks, creating currents

Air mass

A body of air that has similar pressure, temperature, & humidity


where two air masses meet or collide

Surface currents

water movement on the surface of oceans caused by: Winds, Continental deflections, & the Coriolis Effect

Deep ocean currents

water movement of oceans caused by: Temperature differences, Salinity differences, and density


movement of water in the ocean

global conveyor belt

Movement of currents is constant and transfers heat from one part of the Earth to another via water.

Low pressure

cloudy and often rainy conditions

High pressure

clear and pleasant skies. High means dry...

Cold fronts

move from poles toward equator- have triangle flags (think icicles)

Warm fronts

move from equator toward poles- have half circle flags (think rising sun)

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