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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 10 Issue 4 (2005) pp 248-249

Solving the Puzzle for the Chemical Formula from Constituent Ions: Putting the Pieces Together

Michele R. Harris* and James M. Garrett

Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas, 75962,
Received March 31, 2005. Accepted April 27, 2005.

Published online: 8 June 2005

Abstract. We present a simple, brief visual aid for majors or nonmajors and a hands-on activity for nonmajors or high school students involving ionic puzzle pieces. The exercise assists students in determining the correct stoichiometry of ionic compounds. Puzzle pieces representing various cations and anions are constructed from overhead transparencies for the visual aid and from brightly colored card stock for the hands-on activity. These puzzle pieces are used to demonstrate how different ions must pair to maintain a neutral charge balance when forming ionic compounds.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry; high school chemistry; nonmajors; puzzles

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (121 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:


Supporting Materials:

Copies of the master sheets of ions discussed in this paper are included in a Zip file as supporting material (38 KB).

Issue date: August 1, 2005

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