I wrote this song in my first year of teaching. While the octet rule model of atomic structure and chemical bonding has its limitations, it’s about all the chemistry that a first year biology (or even AP Biology) student needs. Learn the Octet Rule!

Scroll down below the video to read the lyrics on this page, or

  1. Click here for a downloadable pdf of the lyrics
  2. Click here for a downloadable pdf of the lyrics with guitar chords
  3. Click here for an interactive tutorial on the rules of chemical bonding explained in the song.

The Octet Rule

When I was just a kid there was a thing I learned in school,
I learned it back in chemistry it’s called the octet rule,
“Octet” stands for eight electrons in an outer shell,
and if you aren’t following you soon will know this well,
We’re talking about bonding, and making molecules,
And if you’re gonna understand you’ve gotta learn the rules, so learn the

Octet rule. Learn the octet rule.
Learn the octet rule.  Learn the octet rule.
Come on all you boys and girls, it’s really kind of cool,
Just learn the octet rule.
Now all the things you see, anywhere or anyplace,
These things are known as matter which has mass and takes up space.
The building block of matter, “atom” is its name,
And linking up these atoms is the octet rule’s game,
So come on all you boys and girls, just you wait and see,
How the octet rule explains your chemistry.

Though atoms are the building blocks there’s smaller parts still:
Electrons, protons, neutrons you can learn them if you will.
The protons and the neutrons they do form the nucleus,
The neutron’s charge is neutral and the proton’s charge is plus,
And a negative electron is in orbit far away,
And learnin’ ’bout electrons is the lesson for today.

The electrons and the protons in numbers equal out,
If the neutrons slightly different it’s nothin’ to worry ’bout,
‘Cause all chemical properties in electrons reside,
And remember those electrons they orbit way outside,
They just don’t orbit anywhere, but in specific shells,
These shells might be called energy levels and you should learn this when you learn the


Each energy level has a set capacity, to hold all those electrons,
Here’s what the rule will be.
The first level holds two, the second it holds eight,
The third it holds eighteen, so now we’re gonna say it,
That a hydrogen atom with electron only one,
Will put it in the first level (you know we’ve just begun)

In an atom with electrons nine, it’s fluorine you should know,
The first two go in level one and orbit to and fro’,
Nine minus two leaves seven electrons that need a home,
These seven go in level two where they can freely roam,
And with fourteen electrons they’d break down two eight and four,
This happens to be silicon, you’re gonna learn some more about the


Though atoms may be tiny, they feel emotions too,
They can be glad or sadly, just like me and you,
If its outer energy level’s full that atom will be glad,
But if that’s level’s less than full that atom will be sad,
And right here is the octet rule, so simple that it’s great,
Each atom wants an outer shell filled with electrons eight.

And this is how Mom nature, her compounds did create,
Atoms trade or share electrons ’til their outer shells have eight.
If an atom trades electrons it gains a charge, minus or plus,
Compare the number of electrons to protons in the nucleus,
This newly charged up atom, “ion” is its name,
So trades are called ionic bonding in this octet game.

Sometimes instead of trading, atoms electrons share,
It’s called covalent bonding and filled with loving care,
Atoms which share electrons combine as molecules,
And in this combination they obey the octet rule,
Take for example water, H2O we say,
Two hydrogens one oxygen combined the octet way.

There are but few exceptions, to these bonding rules,
There just the smallest atoms, now, and what they do is cool,
Their outer shells are filled, with electrons only two.
So they don’t need a full octet, a mere duet will do,
A hydrogen alone, one electron makes it fret,
But it’s as happy as can be when left with a duet.
So learn the …

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Elijah Olson

    Easily one of my favorite songs by you, because the lyrics all flow together for the most part. Great info too!

  2. Daniela

    Mr. W’s! Can make more things about chemistry? I’ll really appreciate

    1. Mr. W

      Hi Daniela,
      Biology is really my area…and it’s very hard to write about what you don’t know. Sorry!
      Mr. W

  3. tracy

    I love it! Keep up the good work!!!! I was having such a difficult time meeting this learning goal. The song helps!

    1. Mr. W

      Hi Tracy,
      I hope you had a chance to look at my chemistry tutorials. Just click the “Tutorials” link on the menu bar.
      Tell me what you think.
      Mr. W

  4. Jeannie Day

    I love the song. I’m using this in my physical science classes on Monday (10/19/2015). I do have a question. When singing the song, you state that the 1st level has 2 electrons, the 2nd level has 8 electrons and the 3rd level has 18. Your printed copy also states 18, but on the tutorial for Chemistry, it states the 3rd level has 8. Please explain.

    1. Mr. W

      Hi Jeannie,
      Thanks for your great question. Sorry for the inconsistency. When I teach the octet rule, I adhere to the 2-8-8 rule, because that’s what kids need to be able to draw the atoms on the 1st three rows of the periodic table (the rule works up through about Calcium). However, any authoritative source will say 2-8-18 (see When I wrote this song (a very long time ago!), I was probably leaning on the sources.
      Hope that helps!
      Mr. W

      1. Jeannie Day

        Thanks, I was aware of that, but I was wondering what to do since I was going to have the students watch your song and then have them go to the tutorial which states the 2-8-8 rule. I’ll just read your response to my message!

        1. Mr. W

          Good luck! Let me know how it goes!
          Mr. W

  5. Tori

    Awesome!!!! You video needs more shares!! Definitely helped me! I was considering dropping my bio class till I watched your videos… thank youuu!!!

    1. Mr. W

      Thanks, Tori! I hope continues to be helpful to you. Please share the link to my website with your friends and teachers!
      Mr. W

Comments are closed.