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acid (ASS id) — a substance that turns litmus paper red and makes salts with metals. Weak acids are sour-tasting, strong acids can burn.

alchemist (AL kur mist) — a type of ancient scientist who did chemical experiments to try and find the secret of eternal life, and how to turn other metals into gold

atomic number (uh TOM ik NUHM bur) — the number of protons or electrons that an atom of an element has

atomic weight (uh TOM ik wate) — the weight of an atom of an element compared to the weight an atom of another element, which is used as a standard. Carbon is used as the standard today. It is given an atomic weight of 12.

atoms (AT uhms) — extremely tiny particles that are the basic building blocks of all substances

conductor (kuhn DUHKT tur) — a substance that allows electricity or heat to pass through it easily

electron (i LEK tron) — a tiny particle with a negative electric charge. Electrons are parts of an atom.

element (EL uh muhnt) — a substance that is made up of just one kind of atom

fumigate (FYOO muh gate) — to treat with fumes to disinfect an area or get rid of pests

insulator (IN suh lay tur) — a substance that does not allow electricity or heat to pass through it easily

metalloids (MET uhl oids) — elements that are not metals, but have some similar properties to metals

molecule (MOL uh kyool) — a combination of two or more atoms, joined together by chemical bonds

neutron (NOO tron) — a tiny particle with no electric charge found in the nucleus of the atom

noble gases (NOH buhl GASS iz) — a group of elements, all gases, that do not react with other elements

nucleus (NOO klee uhss) — in chemistry, the nucleus is the central part of a atom

ore (or) — any kind of rock that is rich in a metal

oxide (OX ide) — a compound combining oxygen with one or more metallic elements

periodic table (pihr ee OD ik TAY buhl) — a way of arranging the elements so that elements with similar properties are grouped together

prism (PRIZ uhm) — a specially shaped piece of glass that can split light into separate colors

proton (PROH ton) — a tiny particle with a positive electric charge found in the nucleus of the atom

reactive (ree AK tiv) — an element is chemically reactive if it easily combines with other substances

salt (sawlt) — table salt, or sodium chloride, is the most common salt. Other salts are the result of a reaction between a metal and one or more nonmetals.

spectroscopy (SPEK tross kuh pee) — a way of finding what elements are in something that is glowing or burning, by looking at the spectrum of the light it gives off

spectrum (SPEK truhm) — the pattern of colors and dark areas you get when you split light with a prism

supernova (soo pur NOH vuh) — a massive explosion that happens when a very big star runs out of fuel

Additional topics

Science Encyclopedia for KidsSorting the Elements