In today's class, we talked about the difference between organic (based on carbon) and inorganic (based on some other element) molecules. Life, of course, is based on organic molecules.
We explained that there are four major classes of carbon-based compounds used by living things: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids.
Each of these compounds is made of individual 'building blocks' called MONOMERS. The monomers are linked together with covalent bonds to make large chains called POLYMERS, and the process of making polymers is referred to as POLYMERIZATION.
Here's a video from Bozeman Science, with animations, that gives some nice background on monomers and polymers: