Listed below is a collection of some of the most important science vocabulary words used in our class. This page is updated periodically, so be sure to refresh your browser every now and then. If you don’t see a word you are looking for, try visiting Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary, a dictionary for younger science students.

ABCD | EFG | HIJK | LMNOP | QRS | TUV | WXY&Z | Root Words | 123s




  • RADICLE (or SEED ROOT): the root of the embryo. It absorbs water, as well as the  minerals dissolved in the water. It also anchors the young plant into the ground.
  • RADICULA: same as radicle (see above).
  • RECEPTACLE: that part of the flower in which all of the parts of the flower come together (usually at the base of the flower).
  • RETINA: the lining (tissue) of the back of eye containing two types of light receptor cells–rod cells and cone cells (or rods and cones). It receives/detects light from the pupil, transforms light into electronic pulses, and then sends the electronics signals to the optic nerve.
  • RIFFLE (in stream or river): a reach of stream that is characterized by shallow, fast-moving water broken by the presence of rocks and boulders.
  • ROOT: the part of the plant (usually below the ground) that anchors the plant and absorbs and transports water and minerals up.
  • ROOT HAIRS: the small structures growing out of the roots which absorb water and minerals for the plant. 
  • RUN (in stream or river): a reach of stream characterized by fast-flowing, low turbulence water.


  • SATURATED: a solid, liquid or gas(eous) solution containing the maximum amount of solute capable of being dissolved in the solution under the given conditions.
  • SECONDARY CONSUMER: animals that are specially adapted to a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of animal tissue.
  • SEED: 1) a small object produced by a plant from which a new plant can grow, or 2) a mature structure formed by the fertilization of an ovule (egg).
  • SEED COAT (or TESTA): the outermost layer of a seed. It helps protect the inner part of the seed from other living (e.g., insects and bacteria) and non-living (e.g., cold temperatures) things.
  • SEED ROOT (or RADICLE): the root of the embryo. It absorbs water, as well as the  minerals dissolved in the water. It also anchors the young plant into the ground.
  • SEEDLING: a very young plant that is grown from a seed and not from a ‘cutting.’
  • SEPAL: one of the outermost flower structures which usually enclose and protect the other flower parts before the flower opens.
  • SHOOT: the above-ground portion of a vascular plant, such as the stem and leaves.
  • SOIL: the top layer of earth.
  • SOLID: a state of matter in which the particles (e.g., atoms or molecules) vibrate about fixed positions and cannot migrate to other positions in the substance.
  • SOLUBILITYthe quality or property of being soluble. In other words, possessing the capability of being dissolved.
  • SOLUTE: the substance–whether a solid, liquid, or gas–that is dissolved in a solution. Compared to the amount of solvent present in a solution, the solute is always present in a lesser amount.
  • SOLUTION: in chemistry, a solution is a homogeneous mixture of two or more substances. Keep in mind that a solution may exist in any phase: solid, liquid, or gas.
  • SOLVENTthe substance–whether a solid, liquid, or gas–in which the solute is being dissolved. Compared to the amount of solute present in a solution, the solvent is always present in a greater amount.
  • STAMEN: the male organ of a flower which produces pollen. It typically consists of two parts: the anther and the filament.
  • STEM: the vertical part of the plant (usually above ground) in which substances such as water, dissolved minerals, and food are transported up and down the plant.
  • STIGMA: the ‘sticky’ surface of the pistil to which the pollen adheres.
  • STOMATA: the tiny, microscopic openings found on leaves (and stems) through which gases (such as CO2 and O2) and water vapor pass. One opening = “stoma”, two or more openings = “stomata.”
  • STREAM: a general term for a body of water flowing by gravity; natural watercourse containing water at least part of the year.
  • STREAM BANK: the side slopes of an active stream channel between which the stream flow is normally confined.  Sometimes scientists talk about stream banks as having two distinct areas or regions, “upper” and “lower” banks.
  • STREAM BED: the bottom of the stream channel through which a natural stream of water runs (or used to run, as when in a ‘dry’ stream bed).
  • STREAM CHANNEL: a long, narrow depression shaped by the concentrated flow of a stream and covered continuously (or periodically) by water.
  • STYLE: the slender column located near the top of the ovary and through which pollen tubes grow.
  • SUBSTANCE: in our class we usually mean “chemical substance” when we talk about a substance.  A chemical substance is a form of matter (substances can be solid, liquid, gas or plasma) that can only be separated by breaking its chemical bonds.  Water is a good example of a chemical substance: it can exist in the 3 main states of matter (solid, liquid, gas), and it can only be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen by breaking the bonds between these two types of atoms. Chemical substances are often called ‘pure substances’ to set them apart from mixtures.
  • SUSPENSORY LIGAMENTS: a type of tissue connecting the ciliary muscles to the (eye) lens. These ligaments help hold the lens in place and they slacken or stretch as the ciliary muscles contract or relax. The result of these movements is an adjustment the thickness and curvature of the lens.

ABCD | EFG | HIJK | LMNOP | QRS | TUV | WXY&Z | Root Words | 123s

 Last updated: September 2017


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