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Natural vs. Synthetic Materials: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Tammie Mihet

Tammie has taught elementary school for 14 yrs. and holds an MA in Instructional Technology

Blood occurs naturally in our bodies. But did you know that scientists are trying to make artificial blood? In this lesson, discover the world of natural and artificial products and see just what science can do.

It's a Fake

It was worth millions. It was the most captivating diamond that an eye could behold. The man studied the diamond carefully, checking every inch of its mesmerizing surface. But wait - something was wrong! He took the diamond, pulled out his microscope, and examined it closely. Yes, just as he had suspected! It was a fake, but where was the real diamond?

Can you believe that you can make synthetic, or artificial, diamonds? Do you know that it is also possible to make things like synthetic hair and synthetic fuel? Scientists are even trying to create synthetic blood! Wow! But what is synthetic anyway, and how is it different from natural products? Well, let's delve a little deeper into the world of science and find out!

You Find Them in Nature

Natural products are things that you find occurring naturally in nature. This means that man did not create them. Think of some things you find in nature, like water, plants and rocks. There's so much more that we couldn't begin to name them all.

Take an orange, for example. Oranges were not created by man, but grow naturally on orange trees. Now, oranges have something in them that is very good for you - vitamin C. If you eat an orange, you ingest vitamin C from its natural source - the orange. However, did you know that scientists can also make vitamin C synthetically?

Natural products come from nature.
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Man-Made

Think of synthetic as something that is man-made and the opposite of something that is created naturally. Synthetic materials are things like plastic that can be created by combining different chemicals, or substances, in a laboratory.

Let's get back to our discussion about vitamin C. Scientists can actually take different chemicals in a laboratory and make their own vitamin C. Since this vitamin C does not come from its natural source, the orange, and is made in a lab, we call it synthetic vitamin C.

Synthetic products are made in a laboratory.
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Is There a Difference?

To help you understand the difference between natural and synthetic materials, let's take a closer look at some examples:


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