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Compounds and Molecules (and Latin Symbols). What are they???. Compounds. O.K. – you now know that there are over 100 different elements on the periodic table. Most elements can join together chemically to form a brand new thing. This “thing” is called a compound.

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  • O.K. – you now know that there are over 100 different elements on the periodic table.
  • Most elements can join together chemically to form a brand new thing.
  • This “thing” is called a compound.

Think of it like this….

There are 26 letters in the alphabet.

These letters can be combined to form words.

Compounds are like words.

Different combinations of letters give you different words.

Different combinations of elements give you different compounds.


Take this example….

Hydrogen (H), a gas, is the lightest element. It was used in the pride of the Nazi airships, the Hindenburg.

Only one problem with hydrogen………



Oh! The Humanity!


Now, you know that explosions are cool when….

(well, maybe not THIS explosion)







Here’s a postcard that survived the explosion


Combine these two gases in a 2:1 ratio and what do you get…….

WATER – a liquid

Question: You mean when two gases combine chemically they make a liquid???

Answer: Yup.


Science TV

Periodic Table - Compounds


So, the elements oxygen and hydrogen combined in a specific way gives you the compound water.

Let’s say you add one more oxygen atom to the mix. Instead of H2O you have H2O2.

Do you know what that is????


Just think of how many different compounds can form from over 100 different elements…..

Just about everything you see, touch, smell, eat, etc……… is made of compounds.

Take aspirin, for example…….here is it’s formula:


carbon – 9 atoms

hydrogen – 8 atoms

oxygen – 4 atoms

Aspirin is made up of three different elements and a total of 21 atoms.


Now a molecule is the smallest part of a compound that still keeps the properties of that compound. Here’s an example -

We’ll stay with water. H2O

If you keep cutting the water in half will there be a point that if you cut one more time you do not have water?

YES! That smallest piece of water is called a molecule.

Cut the amount in half





Your blood contains a compound called hemoglobin. Look at hemoglobin’s chemical formula:


That’s 6 different elements for a total of 9512 atoms!

One hemoglobin molecule is exactly that size – no more…no less (of course in your blood you have many of those molecules).


Science TV

Periodic Table - Molecules

  • Is a molecule always a compound?
    • No- A single atom of gold could be considered one molecule
  • Can an element be a molecule?
    • Yes – see above answer
  • Is a compound always a molecule?
    • Yes – one individual H2O unit is one molecule
element symbols
Element symbols

Some elements have symbols that don’t make sense…

….like the symbol for iron is Fe.

Where does that come from???


Answer: Latin language

You see….back in the early days Latin

was the language of the intellectual

people in Europe.