Ribosomes Lesson for Kids: Definition & Function Video

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  • 0:00 What Are Ribosomes?
  • 0:52 What Do Ribosomes Do?
  • 2:30 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.

Ribosomes might be small, but they do big things! Ribosomes are tiny organelles found inside cells. Their job is to make proteins. Learn about ribosomes, where they're located in the cell and how they help build proteins.

What Are Ribosomes?

Some people think bigger is better, but you can't tell that to a ribosome! A ribosome is one of the smallest structures in a cell, but it has a very big job: to make protein. A ribosome is an organelle. Organelles are like tiny factories that help the cells of plants and animals function properly.

Organelles are found in the cytoplasm of the cell. Cytoplasm is a somewhat thick fluid that your organelles float in, kind of like rafts in the water. Like other organelles, you find ribosomes floating freely in the cytoplasm, but ribosomes can also be found clinging to rough endoplasmic reticulum.

Rough endoplasmic reticulum is an organelle that works with ribosomes in the preparation of proteins. It's called rough because the ribosomes that cling to its surface give it a rough, bumpy appearance.

What Do Ribosomes Do?

It might help you to understand what ribosomes do if you think of them as tiny protein-making factories. Another term for the making of protein is protein synthesis. So, ribosomes play an important role in protein synthesis. The protein made inside the ribosomes can be used to build structures, fix damaged cells and help out in other ways.

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