ADHESION - bonding between two surfaces

ALLUVIAL - soil and sand left by rivers or floods

ALTERATION - a change

ALUMINUM - (Al, #13) a silvery-white metallic element that is used as a common lightweight metal

AMBER - a clear yellow, material that comes from trees, the color "amber" is from the color of this substance

AMORPHOUS - lacking an internal crystalline arrangement

ANGULAR - jagged, sharp, or pointed

ARGON - (Ar, #18) a colorless, odorless, inert gas

ANODE - site where current enters a battery

ASH - small particles emitted from a volcano

ASPHALT - a sticky, black substance used for roads; not a mineral nor rock because it is man- made

ATOM - the smallest definable particle of a particular element


BARRIER ISLAND - an island in front of land formed by a gradual build up of sand and silt

BASALT - a dark, fine grained volcanic rock

BEACH - the shore between the high and low water mark, covered with sand or pebbles

BEND - to flex or to twist

BIVALVE - invertebrate with bilateral symmetry, hinged

BLACK - a dark color like that of charcoal

BLUE - the color of the sky and water, can refer to many shades

BOND - when two elements are held together by chemical means

BONE - a part of an animal's skeleton usually distinguished in a cross section by the small holes where blood circulates through

BONY - like a bone

BOULDER - a large rock

BRACHIOPOD - an invertebrates that has 2 unequal shells

BREAK - when a mineral is broken (cleavage)


CALCITE - a mineral made of calcium carbonate

CALCIUM - (Ca, #20) a hard, silvery metallic element found in teeth, bones, leaves, and shells

CARBON - (C, #6) an element found in all living things; responsible for the basis of life (organic) ; some carbon, however can be found inorganically such as in diamonds

CARBON DIOXIDE - a gas found in our atmosphere that is mainly used by plants, and exhaled by many living organisms

CARNIVORE - organism that eats meat

CAST - a replicate of a fossil that looks like the original fossil but made of different material

CATHODE - site where current leaves a battery

CEMENT - substance that binds

CENOZOIC - geologic time period, pertaining to the last 65 million years

CHANGE - to convert to something else

CHARACTERISTIC - showing a distinct feature

CHARGED - when an atom has either an excess or deficiency of electrons

CHEMICAL CHANGE - a change that is permanent in nature, that changes the internal chemistry of a substance

CHEMICALS - substances composed of elements

CHEMISTRY - the study of matter and its interactions

CHERT - a sedimentary rock that forms by a chemical change; composed of silicon dioxide

CHLORINE - (Cl, #17) a green-yellow gaseous element that is used to clean water, make paper, and produce paint

CLAY - particle smaller than sand

CLEAR - to see through, transparent

CLEAVAGE - breakage along well-defined planes

COLOR - the sensation produced by various rays of light of different wavelengths

COMPOUND - made of two or more elements

CONCRETE - cement plus sand and gravel

CONGLOMERATE - sedimentary rock made of various pieces of rock larger than sand size

CONTINENT - large land mass found above sea level

COOL - not hot

COPPER - (Cu, #29) a reddish colored metallic element used to make wire, pennies, and pipes

COPROLITE - a fossilized form of animal excrement

CORAL - an invertebrate that usually makes a branch-like skeleton

CORRELATE - to correspond to something

CROSS SECTION - cut through a substance

CRYSTAL - characteristic geometric shape that a substance can assume

CRYSTALLINE - having molecules arranged in a pattern; most solids are crystalline

CUBE - a geometric box with six equal sides

CUBIC - a three dimensional square


DECORATIVE - imparts beauty

DEFORMED - badly shaped or disfigured

DELTA - a fan like area where a river or stream meets a larger body of water

DENSE - a lot of matter in a small space

DENSITY - amount of matter that occupies a constant space

DESERT - a dry, barren often sand covered area of land

DIAMOND SHAPED - two triangles placed bottom to bottom

DIATOMITE - a white, soft, brittle rock that is made up of microfossils and clay

DINOSAUR - extinct animals that lived between 225 and 65 million years ago

DIPYRAMID - two square pyramids placed bottom to bottom; 8 sided

DISSOLVE - to disintegrate or disappear into a liquid

DODECAHEDRON - a twelve sided object

DOLOMITE - a mineral or rock made up of calcium carbonate

DRAGON - a fictional, lizard-like, fire breathing creature

DULL - not shiny


ECHNINODERM - an invertebrate with a 5 part symmetry, sea urchin, sand dollar

ECONOMIC - useful for making money

ECONOMICALLY USEFUL - something that can be used to make money or used to help people

ECONOMICALLY VALUABLE - something that can be used to make money, goods, or help people

ELECTRODE - a solid conductor through which electricity enters or leaves a battery

ELECTRON - a fundamental part of an atom with a negative charge

ELEMENT - a substance that can not be split into smaller chemical substances

ENVIRONMENT - conditions in a local area

EOLIAN - relating to wind

ERODE - to wear or wash away

EROSION - wearing away by wind, water, heat, and man

ESTUARY - the mouth of a large river

EVAPORITE - deposit caused from the evaporation of water which causes crystals of several minerals to form

EVOLUTION - a change through time

EXTINCT - gone forever


FEEL - to explore by touching

FELDSPAR - a silicate making up one of the largest group of rock-forming minerals

FERN - a plant that likes warm, wet areas

FISH - a cold blooded animal that lives in the water

FLAT - smooth and even

FLUORITE - a cubic or dipyramal shaped mineral that comes in blue, purple, yellow, and green

FLUORINE - (F, #9) an element that is used in toothpaste

FLUVIAL - pertaining to rivers

FOOTPRINT - an impression left by a foot or shoe

FOSSIL - remains of any organism that lived in the past


GAS - A state of matter that is not a liquid or solid

GASTROPOD - an invertebrate with a spiral shell

GLACIER - a large mass of ice formed by the accumulation of falling snow that moves like a river

GEM - stone or any other substance that has economic value, usually pretty

GEOLOGIC TIME - time that spans earth history, much longer than what one would imagine

GEOMETRIC - having shape

GEOMETRIC SHAPE - having a distinct and characteristic shape

GEOMETRY - the study of geometric shapes

GLASSY - clear and shiny like glass and transparent

GNEISS - a coarse grained metamorphic rock; minerals found in different layers

GOLD - (Au, #79) Au from the Greek "aurea"; a yellow metallic element of very high value that is unaffected by air and most chemicals

GRAIN - a small particle

GRAPHITE - a soft and greasy form of carbon used in pencils

GRANITE - an igneous rock formed inside of the earth with large minerals

GRAVEL - pieces of rock larger than sand

GREEN - the color of grass

GROW - to get large

GYPSUM - a soft mineral used to make walls, sheetrock


HALITE - the mineral name for salt, NaCl (sodium chloride)

HARD - firm, not yielding to pressure

HARD PART - part of an organism that is not soft

HARDNESS - the ability of a mineral to withstand scratching

HEAVY - not being light or easy to pick up

HERBIVORE - organism that eats plants

HOLES - small or large opening within an object

HOT - having great heat or high temperature

HYDRATION - process by which the molecules of a substance become interlocked with water

HYDROGEN - (H, #1) an abundant gas


IGNEOUS - rocks formed by heat or fire that have melted, cooled, and hardened

IMPRESSION - a mark impressed on or into an object

IMPRINT - an impression or likeness of an object

INORGANIC - derived from non-living sources

INVERTEBRATE - an organism that lacks a backbone

IODINE - (I, #53) a halogen; compounds of iodine are used as antiseptics

ION - a charged atom

IRON - (Fe, #26), a metallic element that is the cheapest, most abundant and most important of all metals ; Fe is from ferric


KEY CHARACTERISTIC - a trait unique to an object
LAGOON - an area of shallow water connecting with a larger body of water

LARGE - very big

LANDSCAPE - the view of an area

LAVA - the hot, melted rock that comes from a volcano

LAYERS - sheets on top of each other

LEAD - (Pb, #82) a soft, bluish-white, metal used in batteries and shields for radiation; Pb is from "plumbum"

LIGHT - easy to pick up, not heavy; also kind of electromagnetic radiation

LIMESTONE - a rock formed from carbonate minerals

LIQUID - not solid or gas

LITHOSPHERE - the Earth's crust and portions of the upper mantle, thickness of plates

LIVING - to be alive; having the ability to react to stimuli

LIZARD - a reptile with a rough, scaly hide, four legs and a long tail


MAGMA - melted rock inside the Earth

MAGNETITE - a mineral composed of iron and oxygen that has magnetic properties

MAGNESIUM - a silvery-white element used as a light weight metal in airplanes and missiles

MAGNETISM - the properties and effects of magnetic substances

MAGNIFYING GLASS - a lens that makes objects appear larger

MARBLE - a metamorphic rock used as a decoration for floors and buildings, made of calcite

MATTER - something that occupies space and has weight

MELT - to make into or become liquid by heating

MESOZOIC - pertaining to geologic time, 65-225 my ago

METAL - a solid, dense, and lustrous element that can be rolled or hammered into sheets

METALLURGY - the study of metals and alloys

METAMORPHIC - rocks changed by temperature and pressure within the crust of the Earth

MICA - a brittle mineral that is found in sheets

MICROSCOPE - an instrument with lenses that magnify objects or details too small to be seen with the naked eye

MINE - a place where elements or minerals are found and taken out of the Earth

MINERAL - an naturally occurring, inorganic, crystalline substance that is made up of elements

MINING - an excavation of the earth in which ores, precious stones, coal, oil, etc., are found and exploited

MOHS HARDNESS SCALE - a 1-10 scale that tests the hardness of minerals

MOLAR - tooth that is flat and used for grinding

MOLD - a hollow container that creates a shape when liquid is poured in and allowed to set

MOLECULAR - pertaining to the smallest unit into which a substance can be divided without a change in its chemical nature

MOLECULE - a small, stable unit of a chemical compound

MOLLUSCA - a group of invertebrates that have a soft body and usually a hard shell (e.g. clam, snail, octopus)

MONKEY - an animal belonging to a group closely related to man

MOVEMENT - action or activity that causes something to change position

MUDSTONE - a sedimentary rock made from cemented mud

MUSEUM - a building or room in which antiques or other objects of historical or scientific interest are collected and exhibited


NEGATIVE - charge carried by electrons

NEUTRON - a particle with no electric charge, present in the nuclei of all atoms except those of certain hydrogen isotopes

NICKEL - (Ni, #28) a hard, silvery-white element that is used in coins and magnets

NITROGEN - (N, #7) a colorless and odorless elemental gas that makes up about 80% of the atmosphere

NUCLEUS - the center of an atom with protons and neutrons inside


OBSERVATION - gathering and recording data for scientific use

OBSERVE - to see, notice, or watch carefully

OBSIDIAN - a volcanic rock that looks like glass, usually black but color can range from dark to light, sometimes banded

OCEAN - very large body of salt water on the surface of the Earth

ORBITAL - the route around the nucleus of an atom that an electron travels

ORE - rock or mineral from which a valuable substance can be extracted

ORGANIC - made of or from carbon based chemicals; anything living

ORGANISM - a living being that can respond to changes in its environment

OXYGEN - (O, #8) elemental gas that is essential for human survival


PALEONTOLOGY - the study of fossils

PALEOZOIC - pertaining to geologic time, 225-650 million years ago

PARALLELOGRAM - four-side figure with opposite sides equal and parallel

PARTICLE - a very small portion of matter

PAST - not pertaining to the present

PEBBLE - a small stone larger than sand size

PELICAN - a large warm water bird with a stretchy pouch in its long bill used for catching fish

PERIODIC TABLE - chart of the elements that arranges all the known elements on the basis of increasing atomic number

PETROLEUM - substance found underground that is used for fuel

PHYSICAL CHANGE - a change in which original substances remain unchanged and no new substances are produced

PIGMENT - coloring matter

PLANT - a living organism that makes its own food from inorganic substances and has neither the power of movement nor special organs, sensation or digestion

PLASMA - highly ionized gaseous form of matter

PLATE - bony extensions on the back of a Stegosaurusor sometimes used to refer to the individual segments of the earth's crust

PLATE TECTONICS - the movement of the outer portion of the Earth

PLAYA LAKE - a body of water that has evaporated, usually found in desert environments

PLUTONIC - igneous rocks formed inside of the Earth

POSITIVE - charge that ions carry when there are more protons than electrons

PRECAMBRIAN - geologic time in which the Earth's crust formed and earliest life appeared

PREHISTORIC - before written records were kept

PRESERVATION - the extent to which something has been kept unchanged

PRESERVED - kept safe from decay or destruction

PRISM - a 3 dimensional triangular shape that can split white light into its component colors

PROSPECTING - looking for precious minerals

PROTON - a particle of matter with a positive electric charge in the nucleus of the atom

PURE - made completely from one substance

PURPLE - the color of a plum or violet

PYRAMID - a structure with a flat square, or rectangular base with 4 sloping sides that meet at the top

PYRITE - a mineral (iron sulfide) used in the manufacturing of sulfuric acid


QUARTZ - a clear mineral made of silicon dioxide, from which glass is made


REACTION - the breaking, rearranging, and formation of new bonds between elements or compounds

RECENT - in geologic terms, refers to the past 10,000 years

RECONSTRUCTION - to construct or build again

RED - the color of blood

REEF - area composed of coral and other associated animals located in shallow, clean, warm, marine water

REPTILE - cold-blooded animal that has a backbone

RESOURCE - something used to produce other items

RHINOCEROUS - a large, thick skinned animal found in Africa and South Asia that has one or two horns on the nose

RHOMBOHEDRON - a three dimensional parallelogram

RIVER - a large stream of water

ROCK - a solid mixture of minerals and chemicals, the hard part of the Earth's crust

ROCK SALT - large deposit of salt minerals

ROUND - curved or shaped like a circle or sphere


SALT - a mineral composed of sodium chloride (NaCl), a substance obtained from mines or by the evaporation of sea water, used as a preservative, for flavoring, or water softening

SAND - very fine loose fragments of rock resulting from the wearing down of rocks by erosion

SAND GRAIN - one particle of sand

SANDSTONE - a rock made from cemented sand

SATURATED - a solution that holds all the solute it can at regular temperatures

SCALES - thin coverings that protect the skin of many fishes and reptiles

SCRATCH - to leave a mark on an object

SCHIST - a metamorphic rock with layered, flat minerals

SCORIA - a red volcanic rock that is light and porous

SEDIMENTARY - rocks formed by cemented particles or chemical reactions in or near water

SERPENTINITE - a green rock that feels slippery, the state rock of California

SETTLE - to stay in position

SHALE - sedimentary rock that splits easily into layers

SHAPE - the geometric appearance of an object

SHELL - the outside of eggs, nuts, and animals such as crabs or snails

SHINY - bright or glowing

SILICON - ( Si, #14) an abundant grey element used in weatherproofing and computer chips

SILICON DIOXIDE - chemical name of quartz, a mineral used to make glass

SILT - particles smaller than sand

SILVER - (Ag, #47) a metallic, white element used in jewelry and coins

SIZE - the measurement or extent of something

SKELETON - the supporting structure of an animal body consisting of bones

SMALL - not large or big

SMOOTH - an even surface that has no bumps

SODIUM - (Na, #11) a soft, bright, silvery, metallic element that reacts vigorously with water and combines with chlorine to form salt, Na is from the "natrium"

SOFT - not hard or firm

SOFT PART - refers to matter of an organism that cannot be readily preserved

SOIL - the loose layer of earth where plants grow

SOLID - a state of matter that is neither liquid or gas, substance with an internal crystalline structure

SOLUTION - a homogeneous mixture in which something is dissolved into a liquid

SOLUTE - the dissolved substance in a solution, present in lesser amount

SOLVENT - a dissolving medium (liquid), found in greatest amount

SPECIFIC GRAVITY - the ratio of the weight of an object to that of an equal volume of water

STONE - a small piece of rock

SQUARE - a geometric figure with four equal sides and four right angles

STRATIGRAPHY - the study of how rocks are layered

STREAK - mark left when a mineral is scratched on a ceramic tile

SULFUR - (S, #16) a pale-yellow, brittle, solid element found near volcanoes

SUPERSATURATED - a solution that holds more solute than it normally can at normal temperatures; heated to get more solute to dissolve


TABULAR - having the form of a table or tablet, flat, and expansive

TASTE - sensation caused in the tongue by things placed upon it

TEXTURE - referring to how a substance "feels"

TITANIUM - (Ti, #22) a lustrous, white, metallic element used in airplanes and missiles as an alloy with other metals

TRACE FOSSIL - the fossilized remnants of the effects of an organism in the past

TRACKS - marks left by a moving person, animal, or thing

TRANSPORT - to carry or move

TRAPEZOHEDRON - a three dimensional trapezoid

TRAPEZOID - a four sided figure with two parallel sides

TRIANGLE - a figure with three sides and three angles

TRILOBITE - an invertebrate that belongs to the Arthropod group, lived 225 million years ago and now extinct

TURTLE - a slow moving reptile with four feet and body enclosed in a hard shell


ULEXITE - a fibrous transparent white mineral

UNGULATE - an animal with hoofs


VALUABLE - having a value or demand

VOLCANIC - of, like or produced by a volcano

VOLCANO - a mountain or hill with openings through which lava or gases are or have been expelled


WATER - a colorless, odorless, tasteless liquid that is a compound of oxygen and hydrogen

WEIGHT - a measure of the amount of matter of a substance or object

WIND - a current of air occurring naturally in the atmosphere or put in motion by the movement of something through the air

WHITE - a light color like snow or salt


YELLOW - a bright color like that of a lemon or banana

ZINC - (Zn, #30) a bluish-white brittle metallic element used to make x-ray and TV screens