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5th Grade Science Vocabulary Words

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Fifth grade science is full of fun topics with lots of vocabulary. Come and test your skills by learning just a few of the vocabulary words learned in science class, specifically in earth, life and physical science units.

Earth Science

A weathered rock
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In 5th grade science, you will learn a lot about our planet, particularly about different surface features, as well as constructive and destructive processes. The following vocabulary words will help you with this:

  • Constructive process: a process or force that builds up features of the earth, like volcanos creating islands
  • Destructive process: a process that destroys features of the earth, like earthquakes
  • Erosion: the movement of soil, minerals and rock from one place to another
  • Weathering: the breaking down of rocks; this can be done physically or chemically
  • Delta: a landform at the mouth of a river that is formed by deposited sediment
  • Sand dune: a mountain of sand caused by years of windblown sand that gets trapped by an object, such as grass
  • Deposition: when rock material is dropped off to another location; takes place after erosion
  • Seismology: the study of earthquakes

Life Science

E. coli is an example of a microorganism.
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Do you like learning about living things, like plants and animals? If so, you're in luck, because 5th grade life science is all about classifying living things, both big and small, as well as being able to identify parts of a cell. Learn these words to understand the content:

  • Vertebrate: animal with a backbone, like a dog
  • Invertebrate: animal without a backbone, like a worm
  • Amphibian: vertebrates who live on water and land; most have gills and go through metamorphosis
  • Reptile: vertebrates who have scales and lay eggs
  • Mammal: vertebrates who have hair and give birth to live young
  • Microorganisms: living things that are too small to be seen with the naked eye, such as E. coli and algae
  • Vascular: flowering plants, such as trees or grass
  • Nonvascular: nonflowering plants, such as moss
  • Cell Membrane: wall around plant and animal cells that protects the cell
  • Cell Wall: a supporting thick wall around a plant cell
  • Cytoplasm: jelly-like substance that holds everything in a cell in place
  • Nucleus: control center of the cell
  • Chloroplast: part of a plant cell where photosynthesis takes place

Physical Science

Looks like this kid has some major static going on!
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In physical science, you will study non-living things, such as electricity and magnetism. The following vocabulary words are frequently used in this unit:

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