Redox card games


I have developed the following redox games, which can be used to assess learning of curricular outcomes in the high school chemistry program. My students enjoy playing and learning through these games. This article has rules for six card-game variations to use with a teacher-made redox card deck. These games are progressive. The first game is just to have the students get familiar with the cards and redox reactions. The games progress into redox spontaneity and predicting redox reactions.

These games can played daily for a few minutes — up to 15 minutes to half an hour. Several games can also be played in a 66-minute period. Each student or pair of students shares a redox half-reaction table from a data booklet or from a textbook to help with ranking and determining oxidating agent (OA) and reducing agent (RA). Good luck and I hope your students enjoy playing and learning from these games.

Redox deck

A set of redox cards is available for teachers to download off my wikispace, Each card has an “half of oxidation or a reduction half-reaction”. The deck is made up of about 100 cards. A few sample cards are given at the end of this article. I suggest making between 5 – 10 sets of the redox cards on cardstock for the class to allow for individual, pair, and group play.


A.   Predicting Redox Reaction:  individual

*one deck only; approximately two cards per student

  1. Provide each student with one OA and one RA card.
  2. The student will locate the OA and RA on the Reduction Half-Reaction table and predict the redox reaction, predict spontaneity, evidence of reaction, Enet calculation, etc.
  3. Use the redox answer sheet2 to record information and check with teacher.

B.   Predicting Redox Reactions: partner, class activity

*one card per student

  1. Provide each student a redox card.
  2. OA and RA move to different areas of the classroom.
  3. Each group organizes themselves from strongest to weakest.
  4. Pair up OA/RA and have the pair determine the balanced redox reaction, predict spontaneity, and total electrons transferred between OA/RA.
  5. Use the Chemistry Cards handout2 or whiteboards to record redox reaction.

C.  Redox War: partners

*Play this game if you haven't covered spontaneity of redox reactions; half a deck of 100 cards for each group/war game

  1. Separate cards into OA and RA piles.
  2. Deal out OA cards between two partners.
  3. Flip cards simultaneously, strongest OA wins.
  4. Play until the piles are completely finished.
  5. Repeat steps 1-3 with the RA cards.

D.  Spontaneity War:  partners

*one complete deck of 100 cards per game

  1. Between partners, determine who will win the spontaneous reactions and who will win the non-spontaneous reaction.
  2. Deal out all cards in the pile.
  3. Each partner flips card simultaneously:
    1. If an OA and RA are flipped, determine whether the reaction is spontaneous or non-spontaneous...the designated player gets the cards.
    2. If two OA are flipped, the player with the stronger OA takes the cards.
    3. If two RA are flipped, the player with stronger RA takes the cards.
  4. Variation: If an OA/RA is flipped between partners, whoever completes the balanced redox reaction wins the cards (by Michelle McRorie).
  5. Player/s can also calculate the net cell potential and the first to calculate the Enet correctly, wins the cards.

E.   Spontaneity game: groups of 4-6 players

*groups can be smaller but the larger group allows students sufficient time to find and play cards and also interact with more people; deal out at least six cards per player; one full deck of 100 redox cards required.

  1. Deal six cards to each student.
  2. The pile sits in the centre and the card on top is flipped over.
  3. Person to the left of the dealer plays a card that reacts spontaneously with the flipped card.
  4. If a player cannot play a card, they pick from the pile...and play continues. If no one in the group can play and each player has picked from the undealt pile, flip a card over from undealt pile and continue play.
  5. First person to play all their cards wins.

F.   Spontaneous Memory:  individual, groups of 2-6 players

*one full deck for each group of students

  1. Shuffle redox cards and lay out 9 or 16 cards face-up in a 3x3 or 4x4 grid.
  2. Player to the left of the dealer starts by choosing two cards that react spontaneously (OA and RA; OA must be above the RA on a reduction half-reaction table).
  3. Replace two cards removed with cards from the redox card pile. The next player continues.
  4. Play until the entire pile of cards is used up or until no more cards can be matched up as spontaneous reactions.
  5. Variation 1:  Players can match up as many spontaneous reactions they can find before giving the next player a turn. Do not replace the cards from pile into the grid until the player has completed his/her turn.
  6. Variation 2:  After making the grid, provide students up to five minutes to come up with as many spontaneous or non-spontaneous reactions as they can, and record them. Each player must take turns identifying the reactions to the other players. The player with the most redox reactions predicted wins. (by Dave Nickell3)


  1. I have developed a wikispace where I have been housing much of my teaching material including games, demos, presentations and other interesting stuff that teachers may be interested in. Members who have joined this site have been to my presentations and have found the material I've put onto the site valuable.The space is You can ask to join the space. I don't do any advertising...just share my materials with anyone interested. Currently I have close to 300 members with 100 members who regularly go onto the site. The members are primarily high school chemistry teachers in Alberta. For the redox cards, once on the site, go under menu heading — What would you like to do — click [Chemistry] —under [Download Game Cards and Rules for Science Games] — first option. Redox cards along with the rules and handouts are under the [Electrochemistry] heading.The samples below are four separate cards, two OA and two RA. Each OA or RA is one card. No arrows are included, allowing for flexibility when combining OA and RA. OA and RA cards are separate so students would have to rank the OA from strongest to weakest as well as rank RA from strongest to weakest. Whether a student has OA or RA, they can predict a redox reaction using the redox half-reaction table.
  2. A handout called Chemistry Cards: Redox Cards is a way for students to track the redox equation and allows a teacher to check in on student progress. A small version of the handout sheet is shown. Also online is an “electrical potentials” answer sheet.
    • SOR – strongest oxidizing reagent
    • SRA – strongest reducing reagent
    • GER – gain electrons, reduction
    • LEO – lose electrons, oxidation

    I ask for the colour because the redox cards are colour-coded based on if the card is an OA or RA.

    The handout asks for evidence of chemical change. This is just a check to see whether students can predict reactants changing to products. For example, students could predict a decrease in pH if hydronium ions are formed, or predict a disappearance of a purple colour (purple to clear ) if permanganate ion reacts to form Mn2+ cations..

  3. Michelle McRorie and Dave Nickell are teachers from Calgary AB who added the variations when attending a Regional Consortium Workshop of mine in March 2012.