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# Balancing Chemical Equations: Protect Molecules with Bubble Wrap...

Updated: Apr 17

Over the years, I have tried different strategies to help students balance chemical equations. I've found a number of students want to put numbers inside molecules when balancing. Here is a strategy I've found effective in stopping students making new and exotic chemical species!

### Break 'em up and Bubble Wrap

I'll use the formation of magnesium oxide as an example.

Step One: Write out the symbol equation...

Step Two: The symbols for the atoms of each chemical are written out underneath - the breaking up part

Step Three: 'Bubble Wrap' (circle) the atoms to show they belong to each specific atom/molecule. This 'protects' the atom/molecule so that it can't be changed.

Step Four: Add bubbles where there are not enough atoms on that side of the equation - keep going until there are the same number of atoms before and after the reaction arrow.