What is Calcium? - Quatr.us
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

What is Calcium?

white rock cliff with pine trees
Chalk cliff in Cottonwood Canyon, Pueblo, Colorado

When a star is on the way to converting all of its carbon and oxygen atoms into iron, one kind of atom it makes along the way is calcium. One atom of calcium has 20 protons and 20 electrons (and 20 neutrons). Calcium is a light kind of metal, not as strong as iron, though it is harder than lead.

After the star is done changing its atoms to iron, it explodes, shooting the calcium atoms out into a new nebula. Many of the calcium atoms in our nebula got made into part of the Earth, so that calcium is the fifth most common element in the Earth's crust.

Most of the calcium on Earth is mixed with carbon to make molecules of calcium carbonate, which is what sedimentary rocks like limestone and chalk are made out of. But calcium is also one of the main atoms involved in making living creatures. Sponges and other animals make their hard structure out of calcium, and all chordates make their bones and eggshells out of calcium.

Learn by doing - an experiment with chalk

Bibliography and further information about atoms:

Hydrogen
Helium
Carbon
Oxygen
Molecules
Electricity
Chemistry
Quatr.us home


Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Check out our new ebook: Short and Simple: Ancient Greek Myths! - just out! Twenty-five easy to read, illustrated stories, from Pandora to Medea, Icarus, and the Trojan Horse (you can read these online as samples). Get it this week for just $14.99, five dollars off the regular price of $19.99.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 23 May, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT