What is so small that millions of them can fit on the head of a pin? No, it’s not angels – it’s atoms! Our world as we know it is broken down into its tiniest components in Atoms. For kids wondering what we are all made of, this issue fits the bill. Start your investigation by breaking down an atom into its even smaller particles: electrons. Even before the invention of electron microscopes, brilliant thinkers – like Democritus in Ancient Greece and Ernest Rutherford in the early 20th century – knew there was something more to matter than what the eye can see. Follow their search inward, and the searches of scientists after them, ending with – surprise! – an even smaller particle than the atom, the quark.
Read on to get an elementary view of – what else?– the elements, which are composed of clumps of identical atoms. Kids can then get answers to some of their common questions, such as: Why does a light bulb glow? And why is fire orange? (Hint: it all has to do with the energy of electrons.) Next up, it’s the periodic table; make sure to look closely for elements named after people, countries and even towns. The power of fission and fusion is dissected, along with nuclear energy and the lasers we encounter everywhere in daily life. Atoms, for kids, have never been more understandable.