ATP Lesson for Kids: Definition & Biology

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  • 0:00 What Is ATP?
  • 0:31 How Is ATP Produced?
  • 1:16 How Do Cells Use ATP?
  • 2:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

ATP is the form of energy that your body uses to do work. In this lesson, you'll learn about ATP, how it's made and how cells use ATP, then test your knowledge with a short quiz.

What Is ATP?

Do you like to watch soccer on TV? The players have to run constantly during a soccer game. They also need to generate a lot of power in their legs to kick the ball up the field. Where do their bodies get so much energy?

Well, the answer is inside of their cells, where a special kind of energy called ATP is created. Your body's cells use this ATP to do their work. (ATP is actually short for adenosine triphosphate.)

How Is ATP Produced?

There are helpful little organelles (parts of a cell) that are responsible for creating ATP, and they're known as a mitochondria. They are the powerhouses of your cells, and their job is to turn food molecules into energy.

Mitochondria have a special design that makes them great energy producers--they're rod-shaped structures with two membranes. The outer membrane is smooth, but the membrane inside has many, many folds. These folds allow extra room for energy production.


The mitochondria use a process called cell respiration to make energy. During cell respiration, the mitochondria take in glucose, which is an energy-rich food molecule. Oxygen is used to break down glucose and convert its energy to ATP.

How Do Cells Use ATP?

ATP is a quick and easy energy source for your body's cells. Let's say that part of a cell needs to do some work, like create protein. Work requires energy, so the cell part needs ATP. How does the cell part get the energy from ATP?

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