Gold Lesson for Kids: Facts & Properties

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Gold is a shiny metal that people wear as jewelry, but it's also good for many other things. Come learn about gold, its properties, what it is used for aside from jewelry, and some other cool facts about this expensive metal.

What is Gold?

Imagine scooping up a bunch of small rocks from the bottom of a river with a screen sifter. You shake the rocks back and forth, looking for something shiny. You keep shaking until all the water and grains of sand are gone. Then you see it! In the middle of all the rocks that are left you see a small, clumpy, shiny mass. You've just found a nugget of gold!

Gold nugget
Gold nugget

Gold is a rare, soft, yellow metal that is valuable and used in many ways. Gold is a rare material. It's so rare that if the surface of the Earth were a gigantic bowl filled with one billion jelly beans, only three of those beans would be gold!

Gold is also expensive, but its price changes all the time. One of the highest amounts paid for gold was $1,787 per ounce. At that price, a 12-ounce can of soda full of gold would be worth over $21,000!

Properties of Gold

Gold has some unique properties that make it good to use in a lot of different ways. For one, gold is soft and malleable (pronounced MAL-ee-uh-buhl), which means it can be hammered thin, stretched, or curved into different shapes.

It is also ductile (pronounced DUCK-tuhl), and can be pulled into long wires thinner than one of your hairs and up to 50 miles long. That's more than 730 football fields! Heat and electricity flow through it easily, too.

Gold is also very heavy. If you bought a two-liter bottle of soda, it would weigh about five pounds. If you drank all the soda and put the same amount of gold in that bottle, it would weigh about 84 pounds!

How is Gold Used?

When you think of gold, you might think of jewelry, like rings and bracelets. Gold is used to make jewelry, but it's also used in a lot of things you probably never thought of.

Gold face shield
Gold face shield on astronaut helmet

Here are some other ways gold is used:

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