Researcher's Vocabulary

Here it is! All of the research terms we learned are listed below. They are listed in the order we saw them in. You can click on the word to go back to where we found it.


Theodore Roosevelt History

researcher - A person who is studying a subject or wants to learn about something; they usually have a specific goal.

dude - In the 1800s, this was an insult against eastern people in the west.

tenderfoot - An insult, worse than dude, against people who seemed unable to survive in the west.

ethic - What a person or group believes is right and wrong.

conservation - To use something in a way that will not make it disappear.

legacy - Something that comes from someone in the past.


Geology and Geography

ecosystem - Everything that exists in a certain area; all of the plants, animals, rocks, water, and everything else!

Badlands - A name given to an area with special geology; Theodore Roosevelt National Park is one example of many.

weathering - When a material (like a rock or dirt) changes because it is exposed to forces of nature.

erosion - When a material (like a rock or dirt) is moved because of forces of nature.

sedimentary - A type of rock that is formed by layers of material, like ash or sand, being compacted (squished together).

hoodoo - A pillar created by erosion, usually with a harder material on top to protect it.

caprock - The hard, protective piece on top of a hoodoo.


butte - A geography term that means a small hill with steep sides and a flat top.

clinker - A type of rock found in the Badlands created when other rocks become heated at very high temperatures.

lignite - A type of coal which comes from ancient trees; it will burn at high temperatures if it catches fire.

metamorphic - A word which means to change completely; in geology it refers to a rock transformed from another rock.

meandering - When a river naturally curves back and forth.

floodplain - The flat area around a river that will flood in high water.

plateau - A flat area of land higher than the land around it.

prairie - A large, mostly flat area with lots of grasses and few trees.

habitat - An area where a living thing finds its food, water, shelter and space to survive.


Plants and Animals

sage - A plant common in prairies with a strong smell; many animals eat it in the winter.

juniper - A common tree found in the park; many birds and other animals use it for shelter and food.

diversity - In nature this means an ecosystem has many types of plants and animals.

class - A group of animals with similar traits.



mammal - A warm-blooded animal with fur that has a backbone, lungs to breath air and produces milk for its young.

burrow - This means to dig, but also refers to a prairie dog home.

herbivore - An animal that eats only plants; this also means fruit, nuts, flowers or vegetables!

keystone species - A creature which supports the ecosystem and many other plants or animals in that ecosystem.

extinct - When no more of a plant or animal exist in the world; something that is gone forever.

herd - A large group of animals like bison or elk.

nocturnal - An animal which is awake and active mostly at night.

omnivore - An animal that eats both plants and animals.



insect - A creature with six legs, three body parts, and usually has wings.

arthropod - A more general group of critters that do not have skeletons; it includes spiders and centipedes.

scat - The scientific word for poop!

decomposer - A creature that eats decaying matter, like dead trees or scat.

insectivorous - An animal that eats mainly insects.

metamorphosis - The process of something changing from one form to another; when a tadpole changes to a frog, it is a metamorphosis.

nymph - A young insect form; it will go through metamorphosis to change into an adult.

pollen - Part of a flower that is used to create a seed.

mutualism - A type of relationship where two organisms help each other.


Reptiles and Birds

ectotherm - Another word for a cold-blooded animal; an animal that cannot control its own body heat.

carnivorous - An animal that eats other animals.

camouflage - An ability that allows an animal to blend in with the things around it.

mimic - When one animal copies another; it can mimic the way it looks or the way it acts.

adaptation - An ability that helps a plant or animal survive; it can be physical (like flying) or a behavior (like birds migrating).

migrate - When an animal moves from one place to another; many birds migrate to find good habitat.


Park Problems

light pollution - The lights on earth which make it harder to see the stars.

climate change - Climate is the pattern of long-term weather events. These patterns change, and human activities are affecting that change.

Last updated: August 21, 2015

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