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k-5 science vocabulary words 2012-2013


the smallest unit of life


In atoms: the center of the atom which contains the protons and neutrons.
In cells: structure that contains the cell's genetic material (DNA) and controls the cell's activities


The basic particle from which all elements are made.


A subatomic particle that has no charge and that is found in the nucleus of an atom


A subatomic particle that has a positive charge and that is found in the nucleus of an atom


process by which plants use the sun's energy to convert water and carbon dioxide into sugars


an organelle found in plant and algae cells where photosynthesis occurs

cell wall

strong layer around the cell membrane in plants, algae, and some bacteria

cell membrane

thin, flexible barrier around a cell; regulates what enters and leaves the cell


a tiny particle or packet of light energy


an organism that makes its own food


an organism that obtains energy by feeding on other organisms


any animal that lives by preying on other animals


animal hunted or caught for food


plant eater


meat eater


any organism that feeds mainly on insects


An animal that eats mostly fruit


inherited characteristic that increases an organism's chance of survival


change in a kind of organism over time; process by which modern organisms have descended from ancient organisms


deoxyribonucleic acid, the material that contains the information that determines inherited characteristics


The base that pairs with Guanine with DNA


The base that pairs with Cytosine in DNA


The base that pairs Adenine in DNA


The base that pairs with Thymine in DNA


sequence of DNA that codes for a protein and thus determines a trait


threadlike structures made of DNA molecules that contain the genes

binary code

information transformed into a series of digits 1 and 0 for storage and manipulation in computers

Morse code

telegraph code of dots and dashes invented by Samuel Morse

Charles Darwin

English naturalist. He studied the plants and animals of South America and the Pacific islands, and in his book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859) set forth his theory of evolution.

Sir Alfred Russel Wallace

Same theory as Darwin, but not published

HMS Beagle

Ship that set sail on December 17th, 1831, carried Charles Darwin on his legendary voyage

Galapagos Islands

a group of islands in the Pacific off South America

Natural selection

the process by which individuals that are better adapted to their environment are more likely to survive and reproduce than other members of the same species

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