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Covalent Bonds: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Tiffany Hightower

Tiffany is a certified elementary school teacher. She has a B.A. in English, education certification and a master's degree in education from Central Michigan University.

Atoms have a special way of creating covalent bonds with other atoms. In this lesson, you will learn about what a covalent bond is and how electrons are involved in covalent bonds.

How Does a Covalent Bond Begin?

You probably love cupcakes. If you had a cupcake container that could hold eight cupcakes, and you only had two cupcakes in the container, you would probably want someone to give you six more cupcakes to have a complete set of eight cupcakes to enjoy.

This example is similar to how electrons are shared in atoms to create covalent bonds. Electrons like to ensure that all spaces available for other electrons are filled up in atoms. So, they look for other atoms to share electrons with to form covalent bonds.

Electrons are shared on the shells of atoms to create covalent bonds.
Atoms

How Many Electrons are Shared in Covalent Bonds?

Imagine different sized cupcake containers that can hold various amounts of cupcakes. This is similar to the different shells of atoms' that can hold different amounts of electrons. The number of extra spaces for electrons on the outer shell, or outer orbit of an atom determines the number of electrons that will be shared to create a covalent bond.

Scientists discovered that the first shell of an atom could only contain up to two floating electrons. The second layer can only contain up to eight floating electrons. The third layer can only contain up to eighteen floating electrons, and the layers go on.

If there are empty spaces for electrons, then atoms will share electrons with each other to fill up the empty spaces.

For example, if you and a friend have separate cupcake containers, and neither one is full, you may decide to share cupcakes and combine them into one container to fill it up. This is similar to how electrons are shared to form covalent bonds. Let's take a closer look at how covalent bonds form.

How Does a Covalent Bond Form?

A bond is a strong force that holds atoms together. Floating electrons are the parts of atoms that hold separate atoms together.

If an atom's outer shell has eighteen available spaces for electrons, and only four electrons are there, then the atom will start looking for other atoms that have enough electrons to fill up the remaining fourteen spaces to create a full set of eighteen electrons.

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