VOCABULARY
Absorb- To take in or soak up.
Aquifer- An underground area of limestone rocks that hold freshwater.
Atmosphere- The layer of air that surrounds a planet.
Bacteria- Single celled microorganisms that do not have a nucleus. Some bacteria are helpful to living things and others are harmful. Some bacteria break apart dead organisms and in doing so release the nutrients that were inside.
Biogeochemical- When molecules and elements move from nonliving parts of earth into living plants and animals and then back again into nonliving parts.
Chemical change- A process where a substance has different properties than the original materials that formed to make it. Chemical changes happen on a molecular level (e.g., put flour, sugar, butter, eggs and chocolate chips together and bake to make cookies).
Chloroplast- A plastid (class of small organelles) that has chlorophyll. This is where photosynthesis takes place.
Clay- A fine grained soil that is sticky when wet and hardens when heated.
Climate- Average weather conditions of a region over a long period of time.
Clouds- Condensed water vapor that is visible and usually high above ground.
Compounds- A substance consisting of two or more different elements in definite proportions that cannot be separated. Water (H20) is a compound because it is made up of two hydrogen atoms bonded to an oxygen atom.
Condensation- The process of a vapor or gas turning into a liquid.
ConsumersAnimals that get their energy by eating organic matter in the food chain.
Crust- Earth's outer layer of rock.
DecomposersOrganisms (bacteria and fungi) that feed on and break down dead plants and animals into inorganic materials.
Decomposition- The breaking down of plants and animals when they die. This releases the stored nutrients.
Dissolve- A solid or gas becoming part of a liquid.
Drought- Unusually little rainfall over a long period of time.
EnergySomething living things need in order to move, grow and breathe.
Erosion- The process of Earth's surface being worn away by wind, rain, or glaciers.
Evaporation- The process of water turning into a vapor.
Fertile soil- Soil that includes the remains of plants and animals (humus). Fertile soil is good for plants.
Food chain- The transfer of food energy from the Sun to producers, and from producers (plants) to consumers. Consumers can continue this chain by eating other consumers (e.g., a student eating a hamburger).
Food webThe transfer of energy through food chains in an ecosystem.
Freshwater- Water that is not salty. We drink freshwater.
Gas- A form of matter that does not have either a definite size or shape.
Glacier- A very large mass of ice. Glaciers form in very cold weather. Glaciers at the North Pole also cover most of Greenland.
Greenhouse effect- A natural occurrence that warms the air due to greenhouse gases and infrared (IR) radiation.
Greenhouse gas- A gas in the air that absorbs infrared radiation and which in turn re-radiates the heat back to the Earth's surface.
Groundwater- Water that is under the surface of the ground.
Humidity- Moisture (water vapor) in the air.
Hurricane- An Atlantic tropical cyclonic storm that has wind speeds 72 mph or greater.
Limestone rock- A sedimentary rock which is formed from the skeletons of marine microorganisms 
(e.g., foraminifers).
Liquid- Free flowing matter like liquid water. Liquids have a definite size but not a definite shape.Mineral- A natural inorganic material.
Mesosphere- The third layer of the atmosphere.
Mineral- A solid natural inorganic material.
Mixture- A combination of different things that do not react chemically-like sand and water. The parts of the mixture have a random distribution.
Nitrogen fixing- When nitrogen is chemically changed into nitrate through either lightning or nitrogen fixing bacteria.
Nucleus- A part in a cell that contains genetic information.
Nutrient- A source of nourishment from food.
NutritionFood that is needed for health and growth.
Ozone layer- A layer of ozone (O3) in the stratosphere that surrounds Earth and protects it from the Sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Peninsula- A large area of land that is almost surrounded by water.
PhotosynthesisThe process in which green plants use energy from sunlight to change carbon dioxide and water into sugars. Photo=light and synthesis=putting together.
Physical change- A process where an object that is changed keeps its properties. Making a baseball bat out of wood or melting an ice cube are examples of physical changes.
Polar ice cap- An area of land at a polar location that is covered with ice.
Precipitation- A falling form of water like rain, snow or hail.
ProducersOrganisms that synthesizes organic compounds from inorganic substances via photosynthesis. 
Reflect- To rebound back from a surface.
Reservoir- A place where anything is collected in large amounts.
Saltwater- Water that contains salt. The ocean's water is saltwater.
Sandy soil- A loose and large-grained soil. There are few minerals in sandy soil.
Sea level- The average height of the seas (oceans).
Shell- A natural hard outer covering that an animal makes or uses for protection.
Silt- A soil that has particles in-between the clay and sandy sizes.
Soil- Soil consists of tiny grains of rock and minerals.
Solar energy- Energy created inside the Sun and released into space. Solar energy is indirectly responsible for wind, the water cycle and photosynthesis.
Solid- A form of matter that has a definite size and shape.
Solution- A liquid mixture that has a solid (e.g., salt or sugar) dissolved in liquid (water). The solid minor component (solute) is evenly distributed in the liquid, the larger part (solvent).
Stratosphere- The layer of air above the troposphere. The ozone layer is in this atmospheric layer.
Sun- Our star that is in the center of our Solar System.
Thermosphere- Earth's layer of air above the mesosphere.
Topsoil- The first 8 inches (20 cm) of fertile soil.
Troposphere- The layer of air that is closest to the surface.
Volcano- A mountain that has a vent in it that reaches down below the surface of Earth.
Water- A clear,odorless, tasteless liquid that freezes at 32 degrees F (0 degrees C) and boils at 
212 degrees F (100 degrees C).
Water cycle- Water moving in its hydrologic cycle of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.
Water erosion- When water carries away soil and rocks.
Water vapor- Water as an invisible gas.
Wavelength- The distance between the crest of two waves.
Weather- Atmospheric conditions with the interactions of wind, temperature, clouds, moisture and air pressure.
Weathering- When rocks are broken down into small parts due to rainwater, frost and tree roots. 
Wind erosion- When wind carries away loose, fine-grained bits of soil and rock.

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Nature's Natives® is a simplified representation of how nature works.
 CHILDREN'S ENVIRONMENTAL LITERACY
It is About Their Air, Food, Water and Climate...for Today and Tomorrow