STEM Sports® Glossary

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Acceleration: Change in speed over time.

Accuracy: A quality or circumstance of being correct or precise.

Agronomy: The science of growing and sustaining the life of plants in the healthiest way.

Air Mass: A body of air with uniform temperature, pressure and humidity.

Algorithm: A process or set of rules followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations.

Angle: A figure formed by two rays that have the same endpoint.


Area: The amount of space a flat shape (2D) consumes.

Atmosphere: A state of gas that surrounds the Earth, such as CO2 (carbon dioxide) to produce and sustain plant growth and life.

Average (mean): A measure of center for a set of values.

Balanced Force: Two forces acting in opposite directions on an object, equal in size.

Biosphere: The relatively thin zone that consists of life on or near the Earth’s surface and through its waterways.

Birdie: A golf score that is one stroke under par.

Bogey: A golf score that is one stroke over par.

Bounce Pass: A pass in basketball in which a player holds the ball at chest level with both hands and passes it to a teammate with one bounce hitting the floor or ground in the middle of each player.

Ball Bounce

Bunt: A ball hit lightly without swinging the bat that rolls on the infield between home plate and the pitcher’s mound.


Characteristics: A feature or quality generally belonging to a person, place, or thing and serving to identify it.

Chest Pass: A pass in basketball in which a player holds the ball at chest level with both hands and passes it to a teammate without the ball hitting the floor or ground.

Chipping (or Chip Shot): A golf stroke played close to the green that pops the ball briefly into the air, then roles toward the hole.

Chip Shot

Circumference: The length of a line that goes around an object and/or makes a circle or round shape.

Claim, Evidence and Reasoning (CER): A writing technique that supports scientific writing; a Claim answers the question or addresses the prompt; Evidence is used from student’s experiments or research and explanations; Reasoning is a scientific principle, law or concept that connects the claim and evidence.

Climate: Weather trends over time (long term) for a region.

Collision: Two or more bodies exerting force on each other.

Complementary: When the sum of the measure of two angles equals 90 degrees.

90 Degree Angle

Conclusion: To finish or conclude with an explanation, judgement, or opinion through interpretation.

Constraint: A restriction that keeps something from being the best it can be.

Controlled Variables: The aspects or parts of an experiment that need to stay the same for every trial.

Converting: To change from one form to another without changing the value.

Coordinate Plane System: A two-dimensional plane formed by the intersection of a vertical line called y-axis and a horizontal line called x-axis.

Criteria: A set of rules or directions that must be followed.

Dense: A crowding together of parts or compactness of parts.

Dependent Variable: A variable whose merit depends on another.

Driving (or a Drive): A long-distance shot intended to move the ball a great distance down the fairway towards the green. This is sometimes referred to as a “tee shot.”


Eagle: A golf stroke that is two strokes under par.

Energy: The motion of molecules or objects.

Engineering: A system of thinking that uses science and technology to solve problems.

Engineering Design Process (EDP): An organized series of steps that engineers use to develop functional products or processes.

Engineering Design Process

Equal to: A relationship between two quantities, or two mathematical expressions, stating that the amounts have the same value, or that the expressions represent the same mathematical object.

Experiment: A test or investigation to find something out.

Expression: A mathematical sentence using letters, numbers, and operations.

Extra Point or PAT (point after touchdown): In American football, it immediately takes place after a touchdown (six points) whereby the team that scored attempts to kick the ball through the goal post from their opponent’s two-yard line.

Fairway: The closely mowed area between the tee box and putting green of the hole.

Force: Something that causes a change in the motion of an object. Force = mass of object x acceleration.

Force Diagram

Force Diagram: A diagram showing all the forces acting on an object, the force’s direction and its magnitude.

Free Throw Shot: An uncontested shot in basketball by which a player is awarded due to a foul from an opponent. The free throw line is located 15 feet from the backboard.

Free Throw

Front: The interaction between two air masses.

Function: The relationship or expression involving one or more variables.

Geosphere: The rock and dirt where grass grows.

Gravity: A force of attraction inclined to bring particles or bodies together.

Greater than Symbol: A symbol placed between two numbers where the first number is more than the second number.

Ground Ball: A ball hit that bounces or rolls along the ground.

Ground Ball

Handicap: In the sport of golf, it is a measurement of a golfer’s potential used to enable players of different abilities to compete against one another.

Hole-in-One: When a player hits the golf ball from the tee box (tee shot) into the hole in one shot.

Hydrosphere: The water that the soil needs to grow and provide support for living grass and plants.

Hypotenuse: The side of a right-angled triangle that is opposite the right angle.


Hypothesis: A claim that one assumes is true based on observations and background information; supported or not supported by experimental evidence.

Imperial System: A system of measurement originally established in the United Kingdom in 1824. It uses measurements like feet, inches, yard, and pounds.

Independent Variable: A variable that does not depend on another.

Inertia: An inclination to do nothing or to remain unchanged.

Inference: The process of drawing logical conclusions from known facts or circumstances.

Initial Speed: The speed at the beginning, which is often zero.

Innovation: The creation of something new or a modification to an existing product in an attempt to improve it.


Input: The materials or needs to complete a task.

Integer: A positive or negative whole number.

Joint: The connection between bones in the body that link the skeletal system, creating a functional system throughout the body.

Joule: A standard unit of energy or work in the International System of Units (SI).

Kinetic Energy: The energy an object possesses due to its motion.

Less than Symbol: A symbol placed between two numbers where the first number is less than the second number.

Ligament: A strong band of tissue that connects bones with the purpose to support and hold joints in place; thus, protecting organs in the body.

Line Drive: A ball hit not far above the ground on a straight line.

Line of Scrimmage: In American football, an imaginary line parallel to the goal line that separates each team at the beginning of a play.

Line Segment: The part of a line with two endpoints.

Macromolecules: A molecule that contains a large number of atoms, such as protein, polymer, or nucleic acid.

Mass: A fundamental property of matter that is a numerical measure of the inertia (inactive) of an object or the amount of matter an object contains.

Matter: A substance’s physical properties; the consistency or composition of an object.

Metric System: A international system of measurement originally established in France in the 1790’s. Used world-wide with the expectation of the United States, Myanmar and Liberia. It uses measurements like millimeter, meter, kilometer, and gram.

MET (Metabolic Equivalent Task): A measurement of the body’s expenditure of energy.

Microscopic: A object too small to be seen by the naked eye. Example: A “Microscopic Injury” can occur when tendons, ligaments and joints get small tears or bruises over time.

Molecular Motion: An unsystematic movement of molecules inside a substance without any outside influence.

Molecules: A group of two or more atoms connected by electrons in a chemical bond.

Momentum: The product of mass and velocity; a measure that describes an object’s ability to continue in motion.

Neuron Cells: These cells of the nervous system provide communication between the body’s muscles and nervous system.

Newton’s 1st Law: The process in which a body remains either in place or in motion at a constant speed unless altered by an external force.

Newton's First Law

Newton’s 2nd Law: The net force of an object is related to the acceleration and mass: F = MA.

Newton's Second Law

Newton’s 3rd Law: The process in which an action and reaction are equal and opposite.

Newton's 3rd Law

Observation: The process of carefully watching or examining a person or object.

Output: The production or the product of a task.

Overhead Pass: A pass in basketball in which a player holds the ball over their head with both hands and passes it to a teammate.

Par: The number of strokes an expert or professional golfer is expected to score on an individual hole. Par in golf can be a score of 3, 4 or 5 on any individual hole.

Parallel: Lines, planes, surfaces, or objects that are side by side, having the same distance continuously between them.

Penalty Kick: A free shot at the soccer goal defended only by the goalkeeper, given to an offensive player for specific defensive violation.

Penalty Kick

Perpendicular: A 90 degree angle to a given line, plane, or surface.

Photosynthesis: The process that allows plants to get energy from the sun.


Point: An element in geometry that has position but does not extent.

Polygon: A two-dimensional plane-figure bounded by straight lines.

Precision: A quality or circumstance of being exact or accurate.

Probability: The likelihood an event will occur, often demonstrated with a numeric value/ statistic.

Properties: Any traits that can be measured, such as mass, color, density, length, odor, and temperature.

Prototype: The original pattern or model on which something is based or formed.

Putting or Putt: A shot played on the green. The goal of a putt is for the ball to roll into the hole.


Putting Green: The part of the course/hole designed for putting. It should be kept clean at all times for consistent play.


Pythagorean Theorem: A statement about the sides of a right triangle. One of the angles of a right triangle is always equal to 90 degrees. This angle is the right angle.

The theorem written as an equation is a²+b²=c².

Qualitative: Observations and measures that are described with words and qualities.

Quantitative: Observations and measures that are described with measurements or quantities.

Radius: A measure of a circle, half of the diameter.

Range: The difference between the highest and lowest values.

Ray: The part of a line with one endpoint that goes on forever in the opposite direction.

Right Angle: An angle of exactly 90° that corresponds to a quarter turn.

Right Triangle: A triangle with a 90° angle.

Sand Trap: A pit or trench partly filled with sand, generally located near a green, designed to serve as a hazard.

Scientific Method: A scientific process that involves investigation and discovery through a variety of techniques: observation, description, measurement, experimentation, formulation (or modeling), testing and adapting the hypotheses.

Scientific Method

Slope: The steepness of a line; rising or falling of a surface.

Speed: The distance an object travels in a given time.

speed = d (distance) / t (time)

States of Matter :

  • A Solid is a set of atoms or molecules held together (within a constant state) so they maintain a distinct shape and size.
  • A Liquid is a state of matter defined by its condensed make-up and ability to flow.
  • Gas is a state of matter defined by its movable or non-condensed state and/or ability to flow.
States of Matter

Stretch position: In preparation of pitching the ball, a compact movement a pitcher uses when there are runners on first and/or second base. This motion takes less time so base runners have less time to steal.

Stroke: A golf swing forward with a golf club attempted by a player in an attempt to strike the ball.


Sustainable: The connection of producing a good system for people, profit, and planet.

Synthetic: A material created or made. Not found in nature.

Technology: An object, idea or method used to solve problems or invent new objects, ideas, or methods.


Teeing off: The process of hitting the first shot on each hole of the golf course.

Tendon: A strong but flexible cord or band that connects muscle with a bone.

Three-point Shot: A shot or field goal attempt made from behind a designated line:

  • Middle/intermediate school, high school, and women’s basketball: 19 feet, 9 inches
  • College: 20 feet, 6 inches
  • Professional: 23 feet, 6 inches

Two-point Conversion: In American football, a play that takes place immediately after a touchdown (six points) in which a team can add two points by either running or passing the ball from their opponent’s two-yard line.

Two-point Shot: A shot attempt made in basketball that is inside the 3-point line.

Unbalanced Force: A force that changes the position, speed, or direction of the object to which it is applied.

Unsustainable: The disruption of environmental balance by depleting natural resources.

Variable: The aspect(s) of an experiment that are measured (dependent), changed (independent) or kept the same (control).

Velocity: The rate of change of position with respect to time.

velocity = s (displacement) / t (time)


Venn Diagram: A diagram that logically demonstrates relationships of similarities and differences of a given entity or entities.

Venn Diagram

Water Hazard: A lake, pond, river, stream, bay, sea, ocean, or an open body of water on the course to make play difficult for golfers, which can also include ditches or trenches for drainage.

Water Hazard

Weather: Short term changes in temperature, precipitation, humidity, and pressure.


Windup position: In preparation of pitching the ball, a series of movements a pitcher uses that includes swinging back of the arm and the raising of the forward foot. The windup position is generally used with no runners on base or the bases loaded.