Chemical Formula Lesson Plan

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
This lesson uses numerous mini-activities, a full activity, key terms, quiz, and discussion questions to help your students learn to identify various types of chemical formulas.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students need to:

  • understand the concept of a chemical formula
  • identify various types of chemical formulas by name


45-90 minutes without the activity


  • Numerous flashcards with various types of chemical formulas on each flashcard
  • Periodic table

Curriculum Standards


Translate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form (e.g., a table or chart) and translate information expressed visually or mathematically (e.g., in an equation) into words.


Analyze the structure of the relationships among concepts in a text, including relationships among key terms (e.g., force, friction, reaction force, energy).


Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Key Terms

  • Compound
  • Element
  • Chemical formula
  • Molecular formula
  • True formula
  • Empirical formula
  • Structural formula
  • Condensed structural formula


Warm Up

  • Warm your students up by asking:
    • What does a chemical formula tell us?
    • How many different types of chemical formulas do you think there are?


  • Start the following video lesson for your class: What is a Chemical Formula? - Definition, Types & Examples. Pause after each of the following sections for added questions and mini-activities.
  • Pause at 1:27, ask:
    • Name some chemicals you may have at home.
    • What is a compound?
    • What does a chemical formula tell us?
    • What are the names of different types of chemical formulas?
  • Pause at 1:56.
  • Mini-activity: have students practice writing out their own molecular formulas using a periodic table of elements. The subscripts need not be correct for this activity. They simply need to get a feel for how they should be written in general.
  • Pause at 3:05.
  • Mini-activity: write some molecular formulas on the board and have your students come up to the class board and write the equivalent empirical formula.
  • Pause at 3:59.
  • Mini-activity: write out some very simple molecular formulas up on the board. Students should all try to create a structural formula out of the molecular one given what they just learned. The arrangement of atoms need not be accurate. This lesson is about giving a student a simple feel for the differences between the chemical formulas, not how to properly arrange all the elements and chemical bonds for every type of formula.
  • Pause at 4:44, ask:
    • What is a condensed structural formula?
    • When/why would we use such formulas?
  • Play the remainder of the lesson.

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