Ionic or Covalent?

Apologia Chemistry

We are making our way through Module 3 of Exploring Creation Through Chemistry.    In this module we learned there must be at least one metal atom and at least one nonmetal atom for a compound to be classified at Ionic.   The compound will be Covalent if it contains only nonmetals.

Experiment 3.2  will show us that Covalent compounds do not conduct electricity, but Ionic compounds will.

Students attached copper wires, using electrical tape,  to a 9V battery.


The other end of the wires were put into a beaker that had distilled water.  Distilled water is 99% pure.  The students kept their eyes on the beaker…. for a while.  Suddenly they are getting bored.  Why?  Because absolutely nothing is going on!  What is the purpose of this experiment if nothing is going on?  Good question, but there is something going on and that something is nothing.    That means distilled water is a covalent compound made up of Hydrogen and Oxygen.


Next we add in some Sodium Bicarbonate, aka Baking Soda.  It has at least one metal in there.   NaHCO3  Do you see it?


Now oooo and ahhhhh.  Something is happening here.  See those bubbles?  That means electricity is being conducted and it is breaking down the water.


Next experiment….contacting alien beings.  Or other Chemistry students.  Same thing.



3 responses to “Ionic or Covalent?

  1. Beneita Flemmer

    LOL!! LOVE it! Alien beings!!!

  2. Thanks for doing these. Even though they are four years old, I am grateful to find these posts. We live in Egypt, our science kit did not come in our shipment (lost or removed not sure), only our books and we can’t DO any of the experiments until this summer when we return to the US, so at least I can show them to my daughter through your blog. THANKS!

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