5 Ways to Make Ionic and Covalent Bonds an Approachable Topic (2023)

Atoms are the building blocks of matter. Everything we see around is composed of millions and billions of atoms. Have you ever wondered how these atoms are held together?

The atoms are held together by chemical bonds. The formation of chemical bonds is an intrinsic property of atoms; they form bonds to make them stable. Mainly, there are two types of chemical bonds i.e. covalent bonds and ionic bonds.

In a covalent bond, the two atoms forming a chemical bond share an electron. A covalent bond may be single, double, or triple based on how many electrons are shared. The compounds formed as a result of covalent bonding are called covalent compounds. Water (H2O), Carbon-dioxide (CO2), and Oxygen (O2) are a few covalent compounds.

In the case of an ionic bond, the transfer of an electron takes place from one atom to another atom. The atom which donates an electron becomes positively charged and is called a cation, while the atom which receives an electron is called an anion. This bond is between two ions, that’s where it gets the name ionic. Some examples of ionic compounds include table salt (NaCl), Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH), etc.

Since chemical bonding is the basis of chemistry, you will have to teach this topic during the introductory chemistry course. Students may find this topic hard to understand. So, read on to learn five strategies through which you energize students about Ionic and Covalent Bonds.

(Video) Introduction to Ionic Bonding and Covalent Bonding

Why the Concept of Ionic and Covalent is Hard for Students?

Chemistry is considered one of the tough subjects, the same is the case here. Here are three reasons the concept of ionic and covalent is hard for students.

1. Chemical Bonding is Abstract

Chemical Bonding feels like an abstract concept. The sub-atomic particles called electrons, within the microscopic atoms, participate in chemical bonding. It is impossible to visually imagine this type of reaction. And without any attractive visuals, the subject matter seems hard and dry for students.

2. It's hard to remember the Electronegativities

When distinguishing between the type of chemical bonds, the concept of electronegativity is quite important. The electronegative difference between two bonding elements tells us about the nature of the bond that will be formed between them. So, students may need to remember the electronegativity values of some elements.

3. Drawing Lewis Structure can be Tough

When writing the detailed chemical bonding kinetics, students have to draw the valence shells of atoms of each element taking part in the chemical. For that, they need to know the electronic configuration of elements. Again, remembering these values and then drawing the Lewis structure can be hard for students.

5 Ways to Get Students Energized About Ionic and Covalent Bond

Keeping in view some of the reasons why the topic is tough for students, here are five suggestions through which you can make ionic and covalent bonds an easy-to-understand topic for students.

1. Comprehensively Explain the Structure of Atoms

Sometimes, students lack a proper understanding of the internal structure of atoms. Moving ahead without teaching basics may not be a good idea.

Start with basics; tell them about the internal structure of an atom, and how the electrons, protons, and neutrons are arranged. You can tell them that the center of an atom is called the nucleus. It contains positively charged protons and neutrons. Around the nucleus, electrons revolve in different shells. These electrons of an element take part in chemical bonding.

The next thing to mention is valency. It is a property that tells us about the combined capacity of an atom with other atoms. Valency is governed by the presence of electrons in the outermost shell (valence shell). As a general rule of thumb, an atom needs to have 2 or 8 electrons in its valence shell to become stable.

For instance, if an atom has one electron in its outermost shell, it can either donate that electron or take an electron to fulfill its duplet. Another example can be carbon, it has four electrons in the outermost, meaning it will need four electrons to fill its valence. In this case, the valency of carbon is four.

(Video) Ionic and Covalent Bonds | Chemical Bonding

5 Ways to Make Ionic and Covalent Bonds an Approachable Topic (1)

Figure: The Atomic Structure of Potassium and Chlorine from Labster’s Simulation on Ionic Bonds.

Another important property, that you must mention is electronegativity. It is the ability of an atom to attract shared pair of electrons. There are two types of bonds, ionic and covalent; one involves sharing and the other involves complete transfer of an electron, the electronegativity difference between the two atoms forming a chemical bond is quite important. As the difference increases, the bond polarity shifts from covalent to ionic. An electronegativity difference greater than 1.7 makes a chemical compound ionic.

2. Explain the Lewis Structure in a Step-Wise Manner

Lewis structure is the key to describing chemical bonds among atoms in a molecule. It is a concise way of representing the valence electrons of an atom and helps to predict the nature of the reaction that the atoms may undergo. Students often have difficulty understanding the Lewis structure. The best way is to explain it in simple steps.

Here’s a step-wise procedure you can adopt when drawing the Lewis structure of an atom or group of atoms in a compound.

  1. Locate the position of the element in the periodic table i.e. find out the group where it’s located. Count the groups from left to right, skipping transition elements. The group number mentions the valence electrons (except in Helium). For instance, the top element is Group I hydrogen has 1 one electron in its valence shell.

  2. Write the symbol of an element, and place one dot for each valence electron. If the valence electrons are more than 4, such as in nitrogen (5) and oxygen (6), the electrons are written in the form of pairs, called lone pairs.

Figure: Lewis Structures of some common elements

  1. For writing a structural formula of a molecular compound, you will need to find the valence electrons of each atom involved.

    (Video) Bonding (Ionic, Covalent & Metallic) - GCSE Chemistry

  2. Then, find the number of electrons required to fulfill the octet.

  3. Figure out the central atom of the compound, and write element symbols.

  4. Place dots around the symbols, and then connect the dots where the atoms form a single bond.

3. Use Meaningful Analogies to Explain Chemical Bonds

For teaching chemistry to kids, multiple analogies can be used. The technical terms may be hard for them to digest. However, if you explain the same concept with some real-life analogies, that makes it easier for them to comprehend.

For instance, consider two siblings, John and Michael. John has 9 toys and Michael has 7 toys. Now, their parents want to divide the toys equally among them. So, they ask John to give one toy to Michael. In this way, both now have 8 toys each. The same happens in an ionic bond, if one atom has let’s say 9 electrons in its valence shell, it transfers one of its electrons to an atom with 7 electrons. As a result, both the atoms complete their octet and form an ionic bond.

To explain a covalent bond, you can use another analogy. Consider you have 3 burgers and you want to divide them among two people. You can give each person a burger a then share the third one by giving half to each person. The same kind of sharing takes place in the case of covalent bonds. An electron, instead of being completely transferred, is shared among the two atoms forming the bonding.

4. Explain Some Interesting Facts About Ionic and Covalent Compounds

Chemical bonding, just like other chemistry topics, is rough and dry. To make it more appealing, you can share some interesting facts about ionic and covalent compounds.

  1. An ionic bond is formed usually between metals and non-metals. For instance, Sodium (Na) forms an ionic bond with Chlorine to form Sodium chloride.

  2. The covalent bond is usually formed between non-metal and non-metals. For instance, in water (H2O), the hydrogen and carbon atoms share a covalent bond.

    (Video) Ionic Bonding Part 3

  3. Another important fact is that no bond is 100% ionic in nature. 100% ionic means a complete transfer of electrons from one atom to another atom, and that never takes place. So, when we say the bond in NaCl is ionic in nature, it means the more prevalent character is ionic. To be more precise, NaCl is 75% ionic and 25% covalent.

  4. On the other hand, a covalent bond can be 100% covalent if atoms forming a chemical bond are identical.

  5. In general, ionic bonds are stronger compared to covalent bonds. That is why, the ionic compound exists as solids, while covalent compounds are in a liquid or gaseous state at room temperature.

5. Take Help of Virtual Lab Simulations

With technological advances, it is much easier to explain complex and tough processes with the help of simulations. Now, you can simulate experiments without the need for any practical equipment.

In this regard, you can take help from Labster’s virtual lab simulations. These simulations engage students through interactive learning scenarios. Students dive into a 3D world, where they visually learn and apply their concepts to solving real-life problems.

In Labster’s interactive simulation of ionic and covalent bonds, students first learn the basics of chemical bonding and apply their concepts to find found out about the nature and physical properties of two unknown substances.

5 Ways to Make Ionic and Covalent Bonds an Approachable Topic (2)

If you are interested in buying our simulation package for your students, you can contact us now. Feel free to ask any questions!


What are 5 examples of covalent bonds? ›

Five examples of covalent bonds are hydrogen (H₂), oxygen (O₂), nitrogen (N₂), water (H₂O), and methane(CH₄). 2. What is a covalent bond? A chemical bond involving the sharing of electron pairs between atoms is known as a covalent bond.

How do you explain ionic and covalent bonds? ›

There are primarily two forms of bonding that an atom can participate in: Covalent and Ionic. Covalent bonding involves the sharing of electrons between two or more atoms. Ionic bonds form when two or more ions come together and are held together by charge differences.

What are the 5 characteristics of covalent compounds? ›

Properties of Covalent Compounds:
  • The covalent compounds exist as gases or liquids or soft solids.
  • The melting and boiling points of covalent compounds are generally low.
  • Covalent compound are insoluble in water but dissolve in organic solvents.
  • They are non-conductors of electricity in solid, molten or aqueous state.

How is ionic bonding in our daily lives? ›

An everyday example of an ionic compound is table salt—sodium chloride (NaCl). Table salt is actually a lattice, or network, of sodium and chloride ions joined together with ionic bonds.

What are 5 compounds we use in everyday life? ›

Five compounds used in our daily life are 1. Common salt 2. Water 3. Soap 4. Baking soda 5. Sugar
  • Common salt.
  • Water.
  • Soap.
  • Baking soda.
  • Sugar.

What is the importance of covalent bond in human life? ›

Answer and Explanation: Covalent bonds are important to living things because they allow for the construction of stable, complex, biological molecules that can exist in an aqueous environment.

How is ionic and covalent bonds form give one example? ›

Ionic bonds usually occur between metal and nonmetal ions. For example, sodium (Na), a metal, and chloride (Cl), a nonmetal, form an ionic bond to make NaCl. In a covalent bond, the atoms bond by sharing electrons. Covalent bonds usually occur between nonmetals.

What are three ways ionic and covalent bonds are different? ›

Ionic vs Covalent Bonds Summary
Ionic BondsCovalent Bonds
ShapeNo definite shapeDefinite shape
Melting PointHighLow
Boiling PointHighLow
4 more rows
23 Jan 2020

Is water ionic or covalent? ›

Likewise, a water molecule is ionic in nature, but the bond is called covalent, with two hydrogen atoms both situating themselves with their positive charge on one side of the oxygen atom, which has a negative charge.

Is Sugar ionic or covalent? ›

Sugar, on the other hand, is composed of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen and has covalent bonds.

What is an ionic bond 6th grade? ›

Ionic bonds result from the electrostatic attraction between oppositely charged ions, which form when valence electrons are transferred from one atom to another.

What are the 3 types of covalent bonds and examples? ›

The pair of electrons participating in this type of bonding is called shared pair or bonding pair. The covalent bonds are also termed as molecular bonds.
Depending upon the number of shared electron pairs, the covalent bond can be classified into:
  • Single Covalent Bond.
  • Double Covalent Bond.
  • Triple Covalent Bond.

How do you tell if a compound is ionic or covalent? ›

Ionic compounds are (usually) formed when a metal reacts with a nonmetal (or a polyatomic ion). Covalent compounds are formed when two nonmetals react with each other. Since hydrogen is a nonmetal, binary compounds containing hydrogen are also usually covalent compounds.

What are the 5 physical properties of ionic and covalent bond? ›

Ionic compounds are non-volatile and have high melting and boiling points. They are usually soluble in water but insoluble in organic solvents. They can conduct electricity in the molten and aqueous states. Covalent compounds are volatile and have low melting and boiling points.

What are the 5 characteristics of ionic bonds? ›

  • They form crystals.
  • They have high melting and high boiling points.
  • They are hard and brittle.
  • They have higher enthalpies of fusion and vapourisation than molecular compounds.
  • They conduct electricity when dissolved in water.
  • Ionic solids do not conduct electricity so they are good insulators also.

What are the 4 types of covalent bonds? ›

Types of Covalent Bonds
  • Single Covalent Bond.
  • Double Covalent Bond.
  • Triple Covalent Bond.

Is baking soda ionic or covalent? ›

Baking soda is an ionic compound since it consists of these ions. Whereas ionic compounds are usually formed when a metal and a nonmetal combine, covalent compounds are usually formed by a combination of nonmetals. We can also use the periodic table to help us recognize covalent compounds.

What is a good example of an ionic bond? ›

One example of an ionic bond is the formation of sodium fluoride, NaF, from a sodium atom and a fluorine atom. In this reaction, the sodium atom loses its single valence electron to the fluorine atom, which has just enough space to accept it.

Is toothpaste an ionic compound? ›

Every day you encounter and use a large number of ionic compounds.
Compounds Containing Polyatomic Ions.
Ionic CompoundUse
NaCl, sodium chlorideordinary table salt
NaF, sodium fluorideingredient in toothpaste
12 more rows
19 Sept 2022

How chemistry is applied in our daily life? ›

Answer: Toothpaste, lotions, facewash, the food we eat, pharmaceuticals, batteries in watches, mobile phones, cars, laptops, and other electronic devices, and fuel in our vehicles are all instances of chemistry in our daily lives.

Is milk a compound? ›

Milk is not really a compound. A compound is an entity made up of two or more atoms joined together by chemical bonds. Milk is a fat globule emulsion or colloid suspended in a water-based fluid containing dissolved carbohydrates and protein aggregates as well as minerals.

What are the most important 3 elements that we use in everyday life? ›

Scientists believe that about 25 of the known elements are essential to life. Just four of these – carbon (C), oxygen (O), hydrogen (H) and nitrogen (N) – make up about 96% of the human body. 25 elements are known to be essential to life.

What is the importance of bonding in chemistry? ›

Chemical bonding enables scientists to take the 100-plus elements of the periodic table and combine them in myriad ways to form chemical compounds and materials.

Which chemical bond is most important to life? ›

Covalent Bonds. Another type of strong chemical bond between two or more atoms is a covalent bond. These bonds form when an electron is shared between two elements and are the strongest and most common form of chemical bond in living organisms.

What bonds are in humans? ›

New research finds that dopamine is involved in human bonding. Summary: In a new study, researchers found for the first time that the neurotransmitter dopamine is involved in human bonding, bringing the brain's reward system into our understanding of how we form human attachments.

How are covalent bonds are formed explain with an example class 10? ›

Solution : The chemcial bond formed by sharing of two valence electrons between the two atoms is called covalent bond. <br> Example : Two hydrogen atoms share their electrons with each other to form `H_(2)` molecules . One covalent bond is formed between two hydrogen atoms by sharing of two electrons.

What is an ionic bond How is it created explain giving an example? ›

Consequently, ionic bonds create two charged ions, the metal always donates its electron, and the non-metal always accepts the electron. An example of an ionic bond is the bond in sodium chloride, which is salt. Sodium's valence electron is transferred to the outer electron shell of chloride.

Do you think ionic and covalent bonds have the same characteristics Why or why not? ›

In ionic bonding, atoms transfer electrons to each other. Ionic bonds require at least one electron donor and one electron acceptor. In contrast, atoms with the same electronegativity share electrons in covalent bonds, because neither atom preferentially attracts or repels the shared electrons.

How does ionic bond differ from covalent bond cite at least 5 examples each? ›

Covalent bonds are formed between two non-metals, whereas ionic bonds are formed between a metal and non-metal. Molecules formed by covalent bonds have a low melting point, whereas those with ionic bonds have a high melting point. The same relationship exists for boiling point.

What is one way that ionic and covalent bonds are similar? ›

1) In both bonds, electrons are involved to form ionic & covalent bond. 2) Both bonded molecules have some forces of attraction. 3) Almost both bonded molecules obey duplet & octet rule. 4) Both ionic & covalent bonds give stability to elements.

How do you remember the differences between ionic and covalent bonds? ›

One way to help distinguish between the two is to remember that ionic bonding occurs between ions and covalent bonding occurs when atoms have electrons in common (they share).

What are 4 Interesting facts about chemical bonding? ›

Interesting Facts about Chemical bonding

In metallic bonding a large number of atoms lose their electrons. Ionic bonding is mostly formed between metals located at the left side of the periodic table. Atoms in molecules are held together by the attraction between the nucleus and the shared electrons.

What is a bond easy explanation? ›

Bonds are issued by governments and corporations when they want to raise money. By buying a bond, you're giving the issuer a loan, and they agree to pay you back the face value of the loan on a specific date, and to pay you periodic interest payments along the way, usually twice a year.

Is oxygen ionic or covalent? ›

Answer and Explanation: Oxygen forms a covalent bond with itself since oxygen gas is just two oxygen atoms bonded together with a covalent bond.

Is oil a covalent bond? ›

Most oils are made of nonpolar covalent molecules. Water is a polar covalent molecule. So polyatomic ions are many atoms bonded together with an overall charge.

Is table salt ionic or covalent? ›

Salt is an ionic compound, consisting of a crystal, lattice structure of the two ions Na+ and Cl-. Salt water is full of sodium chloride molecules.

What type of bond is water? ›

In the case of water, hydrogen bonds form between neighboring hydrogen and oxygen atoms of adjacent water molecules. The attraction between individual water molecules creates a bond known as a hydrogen bond.

Is water a covalent bond? ›

Water (H2O), like hydrogen fluoride (HF), is a polar covalent molecule. When you look at a diagram of water (see Fig. 3-2), you can see that the two hydrogen atoms are not evenly distributed around the oxygen atom.

What type of bond is baking soda? ›

Sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, is considered an ionic compound, not a covalent compound.

What are 5 characteristics of covalent compounds? ›

Properties of Covalent Compounds:
  • The covalent compounds exist as gases or liquids or soft solids.
  • The melting and boiling points of covalent compounds are generally low.
  • Covalent compound are insoluble in water but dissolve in organic solvents.
  • They are non-conductors of electricity in solid, molten or aqueous state.

What is an example of a covalent bond? ›

In a covalent bond, the atoms bond by sharing electrons. Covalent bonds usually occur between nonmetals. For example, in water (H2O) each hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O) share a pair of electrons to make a molecule of two hydrogen atoms single bonded to a single oxygen atom.

What are covalent compounds 10 examples? ›

example could be "Water, H2O" as it is formed by the share of electrons of hydrogen and oxygen (which are both non-metals). And another example of a covalent bond coud "Carbon dioxide, CO2".

What are 3 types of covalent bonds? ›

Types of Covalent Bonds
  • Single Covalent Bond.
  • Double Covalent Bond.
  • Triple Covalent Bond.

Is sugar a covalent bond? ›

Sugar, on the other hand, is composed of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen and has covalent bonds. A salt molecule is made up of one sodium atom and one chlorine atom.

How are covalent bonds formed for kids? ›

Covalent bonds form when atoms share electrons on their outer shells to create a full set of electrons. The combined atoms form a molecule such as carbon dioxide.

Why is it important to learn about covalent bonding? ›

Covalent bonds are especially important since most carbon molecules interact primarily through covalent bonding. Covalent bonding allows molecules to share electrons with other molecules, creating long chains of compounds and allowing more complexity in life.

Is oxygen an example of covalent bond? ›

A: The two oxygen atoms share two pairs of electrons, so two covalent bonds hold the oxygen molecule together.

What are the 4 types of bonds in chemistry? ›

Four main bonding types are discussed here: ionic, covalent, metallic, and molecular.

What are compounds give 5 examples? ›

Examples of some commonly used compounds and their molecular formula:
Compound NameCompound Formula
Acetic AcidC2H4O2
Sulphuric AcidH2SO4
3 more rows

What are the 4 different types of bonds and how are they formed? ›

There are four types of chemical bonds essential for life to exist: Ionic Bonds, Covalent Bonds, Hydrogen Bonds, and van der Waals interactions. We need all of these different kinds of bonds to play various roles in biochemical interactions. These bonds vary in their strengths.

What are the 3 main types of bonding briefly explain each type? ›

Three idealized types of bonding are ionic bonding, in which positively and negatively charged ions are held together by electrostatic forces, covalent bonding, in which electron pairs are shared between atoms and metallic bonding where electrons are shared across large volumes of metal atoms ionic cores.

Which of the 3 bonds is the strongest? ›

Therefore, the order from strongest to weakest bond is Ionic bond > Covalent bond > Hydrogen bond > Vander Waals interaction.


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