Ionic bonds occur when electrons are transferred from one atom to another in order for them both to become more stable.
Ionic bonds happen when a non-metal atom accepts an electron from a metal atom that loses an electron. The result of ionic bonding is two oppositely charged ions. An ion is an atom that has an electric charge.
When Na (Sodium) donates an electron to a Cl (Chlorine) atom, the result is a positive Na+ ion, and a negative Cl- ion. The ionic bonding between sodium and chlorine produces the ionic compound NaCl, known as table salt.
Covalent bonds occur when two or more atoms share electrons in order to become more stable. Covalent bonds usually form between non-metal atoms.
A water molecule has two covalent bonds where two hydrogen atoms share an electron with an oxygen atom.
This electron dot diagram displays electrons being shared in covalent bonding and electrons being donated in ionic bonding.