« Return to AACT homepage

AACT Member-Only Content

You have to be an AACT member to access this content, but good news: anyone can join!

Need Help?

Molecular Compound Dice Mark as Favorite (81 Favorites)

ACTIVITY in Naming Compounds, Molecular Formula, Covalent Bonding, Lewis Structures. Last updated March 25, 2020.


In this activity students will use dice and element cards to name molecular compounds and draw their Lewis dot structures.

Grade Level

High School


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

  • Name molecular compounds using the binary system.
  • Create the correct Lewis Dot Structure from a given molecular compound or formula.

Chemistry Topics

This activity supports students’ understanding of

  • Molecules
  • Covalent Bonding
  • Naming Compounds
  • Molecular Formula
  • Lewis Structures


Teacher Preparation: 10-30 minutes

Lesson: 30-60 minutes


  • One di per student
  • 2 sets of element cards per student (cut and laminated if possible)
  • Periodic Table
  • Paper to write formulas, names, and structures on


  • No safety concerns

Teacher Notes

  • Note that each student needs two sets of the element cards. Cards are available to download and print. I suggest laminating them. Ask students to help cut them out.
  • Students will work individually then in pairs.
  • Students are given a set of cards that contain nonmetals (they will have 2 cards for each element).
  • Each student or group is then given a die. The student draws an element card then rolls the dice to determine how many atoms of that element are present. The student does the same thing for the second element card. The students are responsible for correctly naming each compound using the binary naming system, and writing the molecular formula in their data table.
  • After the task is completed (10-20 times) students will pair up and determine which compounds created can actually be drawn/formed using their Lewis dot structures. For more advanced students or block classes (with access to technology) they can research some of their compounds to determine which are used in their everyday lives (cleaning supplies, food, etc.)

For the Student


Molecular compounds are named using the binary naming system. Molecular compounds consist of nonmetals bonded together in a way that allows them to share electrons. Lewis dot structures illustrate how molecular compounds are covalently bonded. Some of the chemicals you “make” using your element cards and dice are chemicals that are found in our everyday lives. After you name your elements and draw your Lewis dot structures, research to see which chemicals you might be familiar with.

Pre-lab Questions

  1. What are the binary prefixes?
  2. How do you determine how many valence electrons an element has?
  3. How do you determine how many bonds and element can form?


Can all the molecular compounds we make using dice and cards actually form correct Lewis dot structures?


  1. Chose an element card from your first stack of cards.
  2. Roll your di to determine how many atoms of that element are present in the compound you are “creating”.
  3. Chose a second element from your second stack of cards.
  4. Roll your di to determine how many atoms of that element are present in the compound you are “creating”.
  5. After you create your compound, record the chemical formula and the binary name in the data table.
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 fifteen times
  7. After you create 15 compounds, you and a partner will create Lewis dot structures for your compounds (some of your compounds might be the same).
  8. Once finished, partners will research their compounds and determine which are commonly used.


  1. Were you able to make Lewis dot structures out of every compound that you and your partner created? Why or why not? Explain.
  2. What were some everyday uses for some of the compounds that you created?
  3. In your research, did any of your compounds have a more common name?


Compound #

Compound Name

Compound Formula