What is the motherboard?

by Miriam Tocino

During the last weeks, you learned about the CPU and the RAM, and how they work together to make every task on your computer run smoothly. 

The CPU is very smart and it can do calculations extremely fast; while the RAM helps it remember and store all the data it needs temporarily.

They are both independent units. So, how are they connected and share information with each other?

The motherboard helps them with that!

zerus and ona computer basics for kids

Artwork from Zerus gets a Virus

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • What the motherboard is
  • The components that are attached to it
  • A brief history of it

Let's begin with some computer basics for kids!

What is the Motherboard?

The motherboard is the main circuit board on your computer. It's right at the center and everything is connected to it. This lets the different components work together.

You'll find many small electrical pieces attached to the motherboard, like transistors and resistors, which control the flow of electricity..

zerus and ona computer basics for kids

And then, there are also bigger components connected to it, including the CPU, the RAM, and hard disks. These can be removed at any time in case they need to be upgraded.


Which components are attached to the motherboard?

The components that are directly attached to the motherboard include:

  • The CPU - it's in charge of making calculations.
  • The chipset - it helps the CPU communicate with other components.
  • The RAM or Random-Access Memory - it stores the data that is actively used by the CPU.
  • The ROM or Read-Only Memory - another type of memory that keeps its contents even when your computer is turned off.
  • The computer buses - they connect all the components together.
  • The CMOS battery or Real-time clock - it keeps the computer clock ticking all the time.
  • The video or graphics card - it processes computer graphics.


A Brief History

Gigabyte is one of the biggest motherboard makers in the world, and it manufactures 400,000 units per month. Amazingly, some of the work is still done by hand!

zerus and ona computer basics for kidsPhoto Credit: Tweak Town


Hooray-bits! You just learned what the motherboard is, the components that are attached to it, and a brief history about it.


Now, it's exploration time!

In our book Zerus gets a Virus, we ended up visiting the Antivirus, where we met Doctor-Bit. We were fascinated by every piece in his office - from trojans, worms, and bots to a M _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ map!

Download your crossword and see all the bits you learned from that book.

zerus and ona computer basics for kids


Remember, understanding computers is a superpower. So, keep on learning!

Lots of Megas from The Binary World,

Zerus & Ona


P.S. We're on a mission to make computer science accessible to every little human on Earth! If you liked this episode, share it on Twitter with your friends. <3

Complement your reading with what is the RAM, what is the CPU, and how to support schools in computing education.


Want to learn more about computers?

Have a look at the Zerus & Ona collection - our books teach computer basics for kids with adorable characters, fun adventures, and a hands-on approach for parents and educators. Visit the shop!