What is a Metal? - Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 What Is Metal?
  • 0:41 Where to Find Metals?
  • 1:10 Physical Properties
  • 1:47 Metal Conduction
  • 2:17 How Metals Are Used
  • 2:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

If something shiny has ever caught your eye, chances are it was made of metal! In this lesson, learn about different types of metals and the special characteristics of metals.

What Is Metal?

Our eyes are naturally drawn to things that sparkle or shine. You can probably look around the room where you are watching this right now and see some shiny objects. More than likely, those objects were made using metals.

What exactly is a metal? It's a material that can occur naturally, or it can be a combination of those materials mixed by people. Metals have several special properties, or characteristics, including being shiny and easily bent.

Let's find out more about where to find metals, the properties of metals, and how we use them in everyday life.

Where to Find Metals?

Metals are found in the Earth and on the surface, and there are special rocks that contain a large amount of metal. These rocks are called ores. The metal is found inside of the ore, and it needs to be mined out.

Many years ago people used small tools like picks and axes to split open the rock and find the metal inside. Now there are huge mines where large machines can split the rock open easily. Mines can be located under the Earth's surface, or above ground.

Physical Properties

We know that one of the physical properties of metals is that they are shiny. So what are some other important properties? Metals can be easily bent into different shapes, which means they're very malleable.

This is the main reason why metal can be found in so many different places. Its shape can be changed to form all kinds of different items, like jewelry and pans for cooking.

Metals are also usually opaque. This means that they are thick enough that you cannot see through them, like you can see through glass. Electricity can pass through metals easily, which is why many wires for electrical items are made from metals.

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