For students to get the most value from the educational materials on this site, they should have an understanding of the vocabulary words defined below. Teachers may choose to teach an additional vocabulary lesson prior to starting any of the provided activities, or students may be provided lists of these words to use as a reference material.
Brink – on the edge of something
Catastrophic – a sudden and widespread disaster
Charter – a document defining the formal organization of a company or group; constitution
Circumference – the distance around the outside of a circle
Compound machine – two or more simple machines working together to make work easier
Confluence – the place where two or more streams or rivers flow together and form one larger stream or river
Convenient – at hand; easily accessible
Counterbalance – a weight balancing another weight
Cribbing – pieces of timber used to line and strengthen an area
Depreciate – a lowering in value of an object
Disrepair – in need of repair
Economic – involving the resources available in a certain area
Effort—the push or pull needed to move an object. It is equivalent to force.
Fiscal – pertaining to money
Gears – two toothed wheels fit together either directly or through a chain or belt so one wheel will turn the other.
Girders – a beam used as a main support in a bridge
Hoist – to raise or lift
Inclined plane – a sloping surface, such as a ramp. An inclined plane can be used to alter the effort and distance involved in doing work, such as lifting loads. The trade-off is that an object must be moved a longer distance than if it was lifted straight up, but less force is needed.
Insolvent – unable to pay one’s bills
Locomotive – an engine powered by steam, diesel, or electricity
Rationing – receiving only a fixed amount of an object or item
Ridership – the number of people who ride the Inclined Plane in a given period of time
Simple machine – a machine with few or no moving parts. Simple machines make work easier.
Spearhead – to lead or start
Sprawling – to spread out with no organization
Spur – a short road leading off the main road
Summit – the highest point or part of any object
Vivid – lively, animated