Chemical Compound Naming Activity

Chemical compound naming activity

Chemical Compound Naming Dice Activity Introduction

I took a poll recently and asked teachers what the hardest topic for them is to teach and a bunch of readers wrote in that chemical compound naming and chemical formula writing is the hardest topic to make fun!  Nomenclature can be a sort of dry topic to teach.  This inspired me to create this easy to implement but fun game for chemical compound naming and formula writing.


In order to play, you’re going to have to NERD OUT a little bit.  Many of your students may never have seen or played anything to do with Dungeons and Dragons except maybe on Stranger Things on Netflix… hahaha!  You’re going to need a bunch of d20 polyhedral dice.  These are terrific for math games too and I recommend getting a class set anyway to use in other activities.


Materials Needed for the Activity:

First, you need a bunch of d20 dice (20-sided dice)!  You need two per pair of young scientists.

I got these online on Amazon. (affiliate link)  

Next you will need this printout featured in the photos.  You can download the printout by subscribing at the bottom of the blog post or here at this library signup link (I have a bunch of free resources and I add to this library regularly!). 

You’ll see in the printout that I created some stickers that you can stick right onto the dice.  You can print out my template on sticker paper and stick them on your dice, or you can skip that and have your kids look up the ions or names on a key page.  (Printing on sticker paper and sticking all the stickers on the dice can take time.)


Teacher Instructions:

You can make this activity into a game!  Have pupil pairs roll the dice, fill in 30 names and formulas, write down the time they took to do it all on the top of their page, and have them switch with another pair to grade!  You could give bonus points or stickers or “bragging rights” to the pairs with the fastest time and all 30 correct.


Option 1 for practicing chemical compound naming:  With this option, don’t use the ion stickers for your dice (it can be labor and time intensive to cut out and add the stickers to the dice).  Just have students roll the dice and look up the ions on the provided Dice->Ion Key Page.  

(Easier version: Students take the ions, write the formula, and then the name.)

Print per group: One Dice-> Ion Key Page and one student page.  Also each pair needs 2 d20 dice (20 sided dice).

nomenclature activity handouts and dice


Option 2: Don’t use the ion stickers for your dice.  Have students roll the dice, look up the compound name on the provided Dice -> Compound Name Page.

(Tougher! Students have to take the compound name and write the proper formula, without having the ions in front of them.  This is a more difficult way to practice nomenclature.)

Print per group: One Dice-> Name Key Page and one student page.  Each pair needs 2 d20 dice.

Handout students use to name chemical compounds from dice roll


Option 3: Print the ion sticker page on sticker paper, cut out, and place on the standard 20 sided dice.  This can take time, so it’s why it might not be the most ideal option for you if you’re short on time.  But once you spend the time (or your students help you) make the dice, it really is the most fun way to practice chemical compound naming!  Then students complete the “option 1” activity.  They just don’t need the Dice-> Ion Key Page, because the ions are written right on the stickers!  I’ve included blank triangles that you could use to create your own ions that aren’t already in the set.  You’ll need stickers on two dice for all the pairs of students.

Print per group: One student page.  Each pair needs 2 d20 dice.

D20 dice with ion for chemical compound naming activity


So there you have it!  A fun way to help students learn and review nomenclature and writing chemical formulas!  Make sure you subscribe at the form below (or here) to get the the handouts and I hope you and your students have a lot of fun rolling for chemical “initiative”!


Additional Resources for Nomenclature and Chemical Compound Naming:

Also, I have a set of doodle diagram notes that students can color and fill in as you discuss chemical naming in class; this style of “note-taking” has really revolutionized how I teach.  You can find a Nomenclature set that covers ionic and covalent compound naming.  I also have a set of homework pages you can use for additional practice!


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