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A Fun Valentine's Day Chemical Bonding Card Game for Your Science Class: Make Em’ Bond (Love Bonds Version)

Valentines themed chemical bonding card game

If you're looking for a fun Valentine's Day activity for your science class, where they can still review and learn, then the "Make Em Bond: Love Bonds" card game would be a great addition to your classroom during the Valentine's season.

In this blog post, I explain how to play "Make Em Bond: Love Bonds," the chemical bonding card game, in your classroom.

Chemical Bonding Card Game

What Students Learn When Playing the Chemical Bonding Card Game 

Students will learn and understand :  

  • The concept of valency and how it relates to the number of bonds formed

  • How to determine the formulae of simple ionic and covalent compounds and how to write the formulae correctly

  • How to draw Lewis and dot and cross diagrams to demonstrate ionic and covalent bonding in different compounds.

How to Play the Chemical Bonding Card Game to Improve Student Understanding of Chemical Bonding

The Goal of the Game

The central goal of players is to collect as many stars as possible by forming different molecules with their element cards. 

Ionic compounds or covalent compounds may be formed however, covalent compounds carry more points. 

If you are interested in having students learn the ions and their charges and focus on the formation of ionic compounds. In that case, I have a different card game focused on ions and ionic bonding which you can learn about here.

The Cards : 

Each card displays the Lewis structure of the element (there are four of a kind and two of each noble gas) and the number of stars students will earn by playing this card to create a molecule.

Calcium card with lewis structure of calcium

The number of stars earned is equal to the valency of the element. 

The valency of the element represents the number of bonds that an atom can form as part of a compound. 

Suggestion: Review the Concept of Valency of the Elements

Ensure that you review the concept of valency with students before playing the game. By doing so, students will have a better understanding of how elements bond to form compounds, making it easier for them to figure out compound formulas.

This can be done by having students sort the cards into groups of elements with the same valency and discuss how valency is related to the number of valence electrons and the group number of the element. 

How to Start Chemical Bonding: Love Bonds Card Game  

  • Pick a student to shuffle the deck of cards each deck will have 74 cards (X 2 of each Noble gas and x4 of the other 17 elements ). Students could be picked based on birth dates or by drawing numbers.

  • The game can be played with as few as 2 players and up to 6 players

  • For 2 - 3 players each player should receive 7 cards

  • For 4- 6 players each player should get 5 cards.

  • The rest of the cards are placed face-down in the middle of the playing area. This is your pool of elements or as I like to call it  The Periodic Table of Elements. When someone has to grab an element they will retrieve their cards from this pile.

Forming Molecules using Element Cards

 The game is played similar to Go Fish! However, Instead of collecting matching cards, students try to form molecules.  

The first player starts by first looking at their hand and will then attempt to make a molecule by asking another player for the element they need.


Player 1 has carbon and one oxygen in hand. Carbon monoxide CO can be formed and this player can earn 6 stars.

Or the player can ask for an oxygen card and form carbon dioxide CO2 instead, earning 8 stars.

elements of the periodic table cards with lewish structures of different elements shown

elements of the periodic table playing cards with lewis structures of each element

With the hand available, This player could also form a nitrogen molecule, N2 = 6 stars.

Formation of a Nitrogen Molecule using playing cards

The player will have to strategize and determine which molecule will earn them the most stars.

The Rules of the Chemical Bonding Card Game

  • Like Go Fish!, a player can only question one player at a time and can only ask about one element.

  • A player can only ask about a specific element if they already have that element in their hand. For example, a player cannot ask for oxygen if they do not already have an oxygen card.


Player 1 Asks for the sulfur card attempting to create an SO3 molecule for X stars.

  • If player  2  has the Sulfur card, they must give ALL of those cards to player 1. If not, then player 1 will be required to "grab an element" from the periodic table of Elements.

  • If Player 1 gets the cards requested, they you can take another turn. 

  • Player 1 can ask the same person about a different card or ask another player.

  • Once a molecule has been formed, players must show this molecule to the other players of the game as proof and write the formula on their score sheet. 

chemical bonding card game for chemistry

To add an extra element of learning to the game, I tell my students that they can dispute a molecule created by another player.

In that case, the player will be required to draw a Lewis structure or dot-and-cross diagram (depending on what has been taught) to prove that their formula is correct. This is also a great form of practice for students. 

"Proving" structures can be done during the game or after the game has concluded.

Winning the Game

  • The player with the highest number of stars once The Periodic Table of elements deck is empty wins the game.

  • If a player runs out of cards while there are still cards in The Periodic Table they must draw a card from the pile and continue playing.

  • If there are no more cards in the periodic table and a player is no longer holding any cards they can wait until the game has ended and then find the total number of stars earned.

Earning Bonus Points

Although students cannot technically form molecules with the noble gases, I have included two of each of the noble gases: Helium, Neon, and Argon, in the deck. Students can collect these cards throughout the game. A student can earn three additional stars by collecting one of each noble gas.

noble gas cards for helium neon and argon

The only rule is that players cannot request noble gases from other players as they would with the other elements.

Other methods for utilizing the "Make Em' Bond" card game in your classroom:

  • Reinforcement Activity: After teaching the topic of chemical bonding, I usually set aside some time for students to practice making molecules. They can identify the metals from the non-metals and determine whether an ionic or covalent bond will form.

  • Peer Teaching: Students can learn from each other as they play the game, forming molecules and discussing structures.

  • Revision: Before starting a related chemistry topic such as VSEPR, writing equations, or even organic chemistry, I have students engage in a session of "Make Em' Bond" to revise bonding and formula writing.

Get Your Make Em Bond Cards

Get the Make Em Bond Card game: Love Bonds, for a fun and engaging class activity this valentine's day!


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