Resource Kits to Build Molecular Models

The hands-on molecular models that can be built using any of the Molymod kits work well for all students. Molymod is a trademark of Spiring Enterprises Ltd., Billingshurst, West Sussex, England.  RH 14 9 EZ. Many vendors, including Flinn Scientific sell these educational models for instruction in general and organic chemistry.  The models' atoms are brightly colored plastic which is uniform through all the sets.  For example, red is oxygen, Black is carbon,  and the smaller white ones are hydrogen.   The atoms also have holes that represent the available bonding spots of the valence electrons of each atom.  These bonding spots make the atoms easy for students with no vision to identify tactually.

Strengths: 

Most students find assembly of these models very easy to do using the variety of bonds that come with the kits.  The shapes created represent the actual geometry of various molecules and compounds.  The 3-D models are a much easier for a student with a visual impairment to understand than tactile drawings which are flat. 

Limitations: 

Students with limited hand strength may find the models difficult to assemble. Working with a lab partner is one way to overcome the limitation, the student with the stronger hand strength can do the assemble while the other student identifies and hands the needed atoms to the lab partner. 

In some cases the tactile atoms may feel exactly the same while the color is strikingly different. For example, in the kits, phosphorus is the same size as carbon, and has 4 bonding spots.  However phosphorus is light purple to differentiate it from carbon which is black.  Many students can see the difference but a student who lacks color vision or is totally blind would not. This can be remedied by placing  tactile stickers on the phosphorus atoms to make them tactually different, or by working with a lab partner that has color vision.