2nd Grade Science Vocabulary Words

Instructor: Kerry Momnie

Kerry has taught for eleven years in grades 4-8 and is currently a 5th grade classroom teacher. Kerry also has a master's degree and is a certified reading specialist.

Science in second grade is a lot of fun! There are many interesting topics to be studied and many new vocabulary words to be learned. Read on to find out about the topics and vocabulary that you will study in second grade!

Science Vocabulary for Second Graders

The world is a busy place! From plants and animals to the weather, there is a lot happening all around us! As a second grader, you will learn about these topics, plus many more. Let's take a look at some of the science topics that you will study this year and the vocabulary words that go with each topic!

Earth Science

Have you ever dug a hole in the ground before? As you dug, you probably noticed that the surface of the Earth is made up of different materials, such as fine sand, thick dirt, small pebbles, and larger rocks. These materials make up different shapes in the land, as well. Here are some of the materials and landforms that make the Earth's surface so unique!


Boulder: A very, very large rock.

Mountain: A very large hill.

Plain: A flat area of land.

Rock: A hard material found on Earth. It is not living.

Sand: Tiny pieces of rock.

Soil: The top layer of Earth's surface. This is usually loose, and not packed tightly together.

Valley: A very low area of Earth's surface, usually set between two higher pieces of land, such as mountains.

Life Science

Take a walk through the woods and you will notice a busy community of living things. Plants are growing and animals are scurrying around. You may even notice animals and plants relying on one another; an animal might be curled up in a nest in a tree or eating the leaves off of a plant. This is called life science, and it is a big topic that you will study in second grade! Here are some of the many vocabulary words that are used to describe life science!


Adaptation: Something that an animal does or has in order to survive. For example, a porcupine has quills to defend itself against predators.

Camouflage: What an animal does to blend with its environment. For example, a chameleon will turn green when sitting on a leaf, so it will not be seen.

Endangered: When a species of animal is in danger of not living anymore.

Environment: All of the things that make up a certain place. These things can be living, such as trees, or nonliving, such as rocks.

Extinct: An animal or plant that is not living anymore. For example, dinosaurs are extinct.

Food Chain: Animals eat plants and other animals in a particular order. For example, a mouse eats a plant, a snake eats the mouse, and an owl eats the snake.

Habitat: A place where an animal finds everything it needs to survive including shelter, water, and food.


Have you ever noticed that an ice cube turns into a puddle if it's left on the floor and a pot of water can disappear into the air when it is boiled? This is matter! Matter is what everything in our world is made of and is one of the fun topics that second graders get to explore. Here are some of the vocabulary words that describe matter.

Boiling Water

Matter: What all things in the world are made of!

Solid: Matter can be solid, like a basketball or a building block. These are objects that have a shape.

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