<img src="https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=iA1Pi1a8Dy00ym" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="" />
Skip Navigation
Our Terms of Use (click here to view) have changed. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our new Terms of Use.
You are viewing an older version of this Concept. Go to the latest version.

Balancing Chemical Equations

Using coefficients to attain equal number of atoms of each element on both sides of the equation

Atoms Practice
Estimated10 minsto complete
Practice Balancing Chemical Equations
This indicates how strong in your memory this concept is
Estimated10 minsto complete
Practice Now
Turn In
Both sides must be equal

They must be the same, but can be different

Credit: Juhan Sonin
Source: http://flic.kr/p/cRLauC
License: CC BY-NC 3.0


Balancing chemical equations is like managing store inventory. For chemistry, it must always be true that the number of all elements must be the same before and after a reaction.  For a store manager, he or she must make sure that the inventory at the beginning of the day must match all sold and remaining inventory at the end of the day.

Creative Applications

A store manager opens up the week restocking store shelves.  At the beginning of the week, he gets an inventory of 20 boxes of strawberries and 10 boxes of mangos.  He uses two boxes of strawberries to make cakes for the bakery, sells 16 boxes, and has 2 boxes of strawberries leftover at the end of the week.  He uses 3 boxes of mangos to bake cakes, and sells the rest to customers.

1.  How many total boxes of strawberries and mangos should there be before and  after the week, regardless if they were sold or not?

2. Using chemical equation format, show the original inventory of strawberries and mangos on the left, and what happened to them at the end of the week on the right?

3.  Is it possible to have boxes of strawberries or mangos “disappear”? In other words, can the total number of boxes (bought, used, or unsold) be different than at the beginning of the week? (eating them doesn’t count)

4.  How does this relate to balancing chemical equations?

Notes/Highlights Having trouble? Report an issue.

Color Highlighted Text Notes
Please to create your own Highlights / Notes
Show More

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Juhan Sonin; Source: http://flic.kr/p/cRLauC; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Explore More

Sign in to explore more, including practice questions and solutions for Balancing Chemical Equations.
Please wait...
Please wait...