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Yeah, so you would have to take both into consideration. In the end, not only does the number of moles of each element have to be the same, the charges on each side also have to be the same. For example, in the redox reaction (Zn) + (Ag^+) ---> (Zn^2+) + (Ag), it might seem that there is one mole of each element on both sides, but taking into account the charges are not balanced. Therefore, to balance it, you would look at the half reactions and determine that the correctly balanced equation is (Zn) + (2Ag^+) ---> (Zn^2+) + (2Ag).
You will be combining both, however figuring out oxidation numbers such as the example in class today with Manganese being reduced from +7 to +2 allows us to figure out the stoichiometric number for iron being 5. 5Fe^2+-->5Fe^3+ + 5e-
I believe Professor Lavelle also mentioned in lecture today that when you balance out the reaction using stoichiometric methods, the oxidation numbers will usually balance out as well. In addition to balance out the charges you can add electrons to either the reactants or products side of the reaction.
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