How Should You Explain Cellular Respiration to Kids?

should-explain-cellular-respiration-kids Credit: Hero Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Kids Research Express provides a concise and age-appropriate explanation of cellular respiration designed to help kids understand this crucial process, which is essential to the survival of most organisms on Earth. Cellular respiration is best explained as the process by which cells produce the energy they need to live and store it for later use.

According to Kids Research Express, cells utilize oxygen in the blood to break down glucose and store it as energy within the cell. The energy is stored in adenosine triphosphate, which can be considered a suitcase within the cell body that allows the cell easy access whenever it needs a boost. The glucose is useless to the cells before it is properly stored, as the cell can't break it down into a proper source of energy.

The Annenberg Learner describes cellular respiration as the process by which the body converts glucose sugar into energy that it can use as fuel. Sugar is a carbohydrate the body extracts when it digests food, and the conversion of sugar to energy is the human and animal equivalent of photosynthesis in the plant world. The Learner explains that cellular respiration involves five crucial building blocks, including sugar, oxygen, carbon dioxide, water and energy.