Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsPhysics · 1 decade ago

how would i explain an atom to a 6 or 7 year old child?

So i have a science homework question that i totally don't know how to answer and i need your help. please! Thanks :)

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Okay, try this:

    You know how things are made up of other stuff, right, like a house is made up of wood and wires and carpets and stuff? Well, you can break things down even smaller. Take us for example - we are made of things like bones and skin and hair, right?

    (I kept using "right?" to keep them engaged...)

    Well, you can look at smaller and smaller pieces - like a finger bone (wiggle the end of a finger). That bone is very small, isn't it?

    Well look closer at your finger (hopefully he/she has a bit of a hangnail!!) Look at this little bit of skin here. This skin isn't just one big piece - it's made up of all sorts of things called "cells." (click here to look at onion cells - cuz they're big and provide a good example - http://waynesword.palomar.edu/lmexer1.htm#onion )

    This little bit of skin is made up of bazillions of cells like these here. Now I've got amazing news - these little, tiny cells that are too small to even see without special microscopes (like on that page!!) can be broken down to even smaller pieces/parts.

    These itty-bitty parts are called molecules. Everything is made up of molecules, which are mixes of stuff that helps build cells. Even WATER has molecules (use this linky! http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/water/inde... ) Water molecules are so tiny that we haven't even built a microscope that can see them, so we guess at what they look like - and our guesses say that they look like these (refer to that site).

    You see these different colored balls? The water molecules are made up of even SMALLER things called atoms - and these atoms are called Oxygen and Hydrogen. Let's count them... two hydrogen (1, 2) and one oxygen. Sometimes we call water "H2O." (expect a "WOW" moment because they've heard the term).

    Everything has atoms in it - and atoms help build molecules, and molecules build either THINGS (that aren't alive), or they build cells for things that ARE alive. Celery and kittens both have cells - but ice and toothbrushes just have molecules.

    I bet some day you'll find out that there are even smaller things than ATOMS!! Won't that be amazing?

    ____________________________

    And when you get blasted by questions - just use Google to find pics to show molecular structure.

    It's funny - my six year old hit me with this just a couple weeks ago, and now she's made it a mission of hers to identify whether things are elemental (just molecules) or cellular - and she had to get into electrons, protons and neutrons (atomic bits) and even into crazy stuff like muons and quarks and photons... stuff I have to Google to try to explain.

  • 1 decade ago

    Try using the periodic table, the atom is [H] hydrogen

    Source(s): There shoud be a table on internet Lots of luck.
  • 1 decade ago

    You could use the analogy of planets orbiting around the sun, ie electrons orbitting around the central nucleus. Or the moon orbiting earth.

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