Molecules Definition: Lesson for Kids

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.

Explore the tiny world of molecules and how they form every object in the world. Discover the relationship between atoms and molecules, how molecules are formed, and what determines the size and shape of molecules. Updated: 12/27/2021

What Is a Molecule?

Take a look at your hand. The only thing you can see is a palm with fingers, but if you could look inside, you'd see that your hand is made up of many parts, like bones and muscles. Look through a microscope, and you'd notice that those bones and muscles are made of cells. Turn up the magnification, and you'd discover that each cell contains molecules.

So, your body is made up of molecules. Molecules don't just make up your body; they also make up the things around you. There are molecules in your desk, your pencil, and your lunch.

A molecule is a group of two or more atoms that bond together. Atoms are the basic building blocks of matter. You might have seen a picture of an atom before. Atoms have electrons that float around the nucleus.

A good way to think about atoms and molecules is to think of the letters that make up a word. For example, the word 'dog' is made up of three letters, d-o-g. Those letters are the smallest units, so they are like the atoms. The letters join to make a word, so the word is like a molecule.

There are many ways to put atoms together. The number of atoms and types of atoms that bond together to form a molecule determine the size and shape of the molecule. Hydrogen gas (or H2) is a small molecule that's made up of just two hydrogen atoms joined side-by-side. DNA is a complex molecule that carries your genetic information. It's made up of many different atoms that bond together to form a spiral shape.

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  • 0:04 What Is a Molecule?
  • 1:35 How Molecules Are Built
  • 2:29 Lesson Summary
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