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How to Count Atoms

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Coefficient If an element or molecule has a LARGE number in front of it, this is how many atoms of each element there is. Example: 4 Na –FOUR Sodium atoms 2 HCl –TWO Hydrogen atoms and TWO Chlorine atoms

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Subscript If an element has a small number after it, this is how many atoms of that specific atom there are. Example H 2 O –TWO Hydrogen atoms, and ONE Oxygen atom C 2 H 4 –TWO Carbon atoms and FOUR Hydrogen atoms

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IF AN ATOM DOES NOT HAVE A NUMBER IN FRONT OR BEHIND, IT IS ALWAYS ONE

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Putting the Two Together If you have coefficients AND subscripts, You need to multiply (times) the coefficient by the subscript. Example: 2 MnO 4 – (2 x 1 =) TWO Manganese atoms and (2 x 4 = ) EIGHT Oxygen atoms 3 HPO 4 – (3 x 1 = ) THREE Hydrogen atoms, (3 x 1 = ) THREE Phosphorous atoms, and ( 3 x 4 = ) TWELVE Oxygen atoms

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Brackets If there are brackets within your molecule... A) The coefficient applies to ALL atoms in the molecule, bracket or not. B) A subscript OUTSIDE the bracket applies to ALL atoms INSIDE the bracket

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EXAMPLES Al(NO 3 ) 3 –ONE Aluminum atom, THREE Nitrogen atoms, and NINE (3 x 3) Oxygen atoms 3 Au 2 (SeO 4 ) 3 –SIX Gold atoms (2 x 3), NINE Selenium atoms (3 x 3), and THIRTY-SIX Oxygen atoms (4 x 3 x 3).

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Big Idea: Given a chemical formula be able to count the number of atoms for each element in the compound or molecule. Counting Atoms in Compounds or Molecules.

Big Idea: Given a chemical formula be able to count the number of atoms for each element in the compound or molecule. Counting Atoms in Compounds or Molecules.

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