Primary General Science Glossary

This is a general primary science glossary. For class specific glossaries please go to the specific subjects

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Camera obscura

A darkened enclosure in which images of outside objects are projected through a small aperture or lens onto a facing surface. A camera obscura uses the same principles as a regular camera.


Canines are teeth used for tearing and ripping food. Children learn about them as part of their study of teeth and how to take care of them.


A capacitor is an electrical component used to control the flow of charge in a circuit. The name derives from their capacity to store an electric charge. Capacitors consist of two conducting surfaces separated by an insulator; a wire lead is connected to each surface. A capacitor can store electric energy and discharge it at a determined rate.

Capillary action

The flow of liquids through porous media, such as the flow of water through blotting paper.


Made by cooking sugar slowly, used in candy making and sweetening of foods

Carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide is a colourless, odourless incombustible gas present in the atmosphere. It is formed during the breathing of living organisms, the decomposition and combustion of organic compounds, and in the reaction of acids with carbonates: used in fizzy drinks, fire extinguishers, and as dry ice for refrigeration.


A carcinogenic substance is any substance that produces cancer or stimulates the production of cancerous cells.


Carnivores are animals who eat mainly meat and hunt their prey. 

Cartesian diver

The Cartesian diver was first explained by René Descartes, a sixteenth-century French mathematician


A substance that initiates or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected

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