Chemical Compound Naming Fun


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 compound naming and chemical formula writing is the hardest topic to make fun!  This inspired me to create this easy to implement but fun game for compound naming and formula writing.


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 you need: 

A bunch of d20 dice (20-sided dice)!  You need two per pair of students.

I got these online on Amazon. (affiliate link)  

The printout you can download by subscribing below:

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 students 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.)


Here are the teacher instructions that I include in the set.

You can make this into a game!  Have student pairs roll, 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: 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).


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.)

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


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, but at least it’s an option!  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.



So there you have it!  A fun way to help students learn and review compound naming and writing chemical formulas!  Hope you and your students have a lot of fun with this.



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