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Ionic Compound Identification (11 Favorites)

ACTIVITY in Observations, Naming Compounds. Last updated September 6, 2019.


In this activity, students will practice naming and writing formulas of ionic compounds by actually looking at some examples. They also observe the color and "form" of each compound.

Grade Level

High school


By the end of this lesson, students should be able to

  • Bulleted list of what students should be able to do by the end of the lesson.
  • Should be specific and measureable

Chemistry Topics

This lesson supports students’ understanding of

  • Naming compounds


Teacher Preparation: 30 minutes

Lesson: 30 minutes


Suggested ionic compounds for the activity

  • Calcium carbonate (CaCO3)
  • Mercury(II) iodide (HgI2)
  • Copper(II) sulfate (CuSO4)
  • Sodium hydrogen carbonate (NaHCO3)
  • Nickel (II) chloride (NiCl2)
  • Potassium chromate (K2CrO4)
  • Nickel(II) nitrate (Ni(NO3)2)
  • Sodium carbonate (Na2CO3)
  • Ammonium chloride (AlCl3)
  •  Cobalt(II) chloride (CoCl2
  • Chromium(III) nitrate (Cr(NO3)3)
  • Sodium dihydrogen phosphate (NaH2PO4)
  • Sodium phosphate (Na3PO4)
  • Iron(II) sulfide (FeS)
  • Potassium dichromate (K2Cr2O7)
  • Potassium permanganate (KMnO4)
  • Copper(I) oxide (Cu2O)
  • Silver nitrate (AgNO3)
  • Sodium acetate (NaC2H3O2)
  • Zinc sulfate (ZnSO4)
  • Manganese(IV) oxide (MnO2)


  • Always wear safety goggles when working in the lab.
  • Students should wash their hands thoroughly before leaving the lab.
  • When students complete the lab, instruct them how to clean up their materials and dispose of any chemicals.

Teacher Notes

  • This gives students a chance to get out of their seats and to see actual compounds, rather than assigning names to meaningless substances.
  • This is a "prepare one time and you're set" activity and teachers can use whatever compounds they have in their lab to prepare the sets.

For the Student



At each lab table you will find a set of three ionic compounds. For each compound listed:

  1. Describe the compound’s color and form (ex: crystals, powder, pellets, flakes, etc.).
  2. If the name of the compound is given, give the formula; if the formula of the compound is given, give the name.

Ex: NaCl description: white crystals name: sodium chloride

Sodium chloride description: white crystals formula: NaCl