Chemistry Bingo

Elements and Ions


Learn the names and symbols of elements and ions while enjoying the game of chemistry bingo. Each card has chemical element symbols on the front to play “element bingo” and ion formulas on the back to play “ion bingo.”


  • Element symbols and names
  • Ion formulas and names


It is important for students in an introductory chemistry class to begin learning the language of chemistry. This includes learning common element symbols and names as well as common ion formulas and names. Elements are substances that cannot be broken down into simpler substances by chemical or physical means. Ions are atoms or groups of atoms that have a positive or negative charge. Once students become familiar with names and formulas for common elements and ions, they can begin to write chemical formulas and reactions.

The Element Bingo callout cards contain the symbols and corresponding names of 75 common elements.

The Ion Bingo callout cards contain 75 common ions, both cations and anions. A cation is any atom or group of atoms with a net positive charge while an anion is any atom or group of atoms with a net negative charge. The ion callout cards contain examples of both the Stock system and the Classical system for naming cations. The Stock system is a common method in which a Roman numeral in parentheses is used as part of the name of the element to indicate the numerical value of the charge. For example, iron(II) is Fe2+ and iron(III) is Fe3+. The older, Latin-based Classical system is still a common naming method which uses a root word with different suffixes at the end. The suffix -ous is used for the name of the cation with the lower of the two ionic charges while the suffix -ic is used with the higher of the two ionic charges. For example, ferrous is Fe2+ and ferric is Fe3+. The ion cards contain monoatomic ions, in which the ion consists of a single atom, such as Cu2+, as well as polyatomic ions, which are tightly bound groups of atoms that behave as a unit and carry a net charge such as OH.

This chemistry bingo game provides an enjoyable activity and an excellent starting point for students to learn the names and symbols of some common elements and ions.


Bingo cards, double-sided, 42 different cards*
Bingo chips, 750*
Element bingo callout cards, orange*
Ion bingo callout cards, green*
Ion formula chart*
Periodic table*
Small containers for chips
*Materials included in kit.

Prelab Preparation

  1. Before beginning the activity, consider laminating the sheets of callout cards as well as the bingo cards. This will greatly increase their durability and longevity.
  2. Cut out each of the squares from the callout card sheets. The three orange element sheets provide 75 element callout cards. The three green ion sheets provide 75 ion callout cards. Separate the orange and green cards into separate boxes or bins. You are now ready to play either “Element Bingo” or “Ion Bingo.” 


Suggestions for Play

  1. Give each student a bingo card and approximately 25 bingo chips. Small containers such as paper cups may be helpful for distributing and holding the bingo chips. Decide if the class will play Element or Ion Bingo. Be sure all students have the proper side of the card facing upward before starting.
  2. If playing “Element Bingo,” call out the chemical element name and have students cover the matching element symbol with a bingo chip. Set the called cards in a column to the side. Provide a periodic table to the student if this is an introduction to the elements.
  3. If playing “Ion Bingo,” call out the name of the ion and have students cover the matching ion formula with a bingo chip. Set the called cards in a column to the side. Consider also calling out the ion formula if this is an introduction to the ions.
  4. Continue calling out names until “bingo” is called. Standard bingo means covering five squares in any row, vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. The center square is a free space and automatically gets covered with a chip.
  5. Once bingo is called, tell students not to remove any chips from their cards until the winner has been verified. Verify the winner by having the student read back the contents of the five contiguous squares.
  6. The winner of each round may get points or a small prize as you deem appropriate.
  7. Consider finishing with a “cover-all” round, where the winner is the first to cover the entire card.

Teacher Tips

  • Use student volunteers for calling out the chemical names. Saying the words aloud helps to reinforce the words and symbols.
  • This game works extremely well as an engaging and fun review of element symbols and ion formulas. However, the game can also be played as an introductory learning tool for familiarizing students with elements and ions. In this case, you may consider calling out both the name and symbol of the element or ion. Seeing and hearing the name and symbol together can help students in the learning process.
  • The callout cards can also be used an an impromptu quiz. Instead of using the bingo cards, simply draw out 10 element or ion cards. Call out the names and have students write out the element symbol or ion formula.

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Developing and using models

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter
HS-PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter

Crosscutting Concepts

Structure and function

Performance Expectations

HS-PS1-1. Use the periodic table as a model to predict the relative properties of elements based on the patterns of electrons in the outermost energy level of atoms.

Next Generation Science Standards and NGSS are registered trademarks of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.