Submitted by Kurt Birdwhistell / Loyola University New Orleans on Sat, 03/28/2009 - 11:22

I use the framework molecular model set by Prentice Hall in my Inorganic class. 

I am about to put in my "book" order for the fall and I was wondering if anyone has found a better model set to use in Inorganic chemistry?  This set has trigonal pyramid and octahedral geometries. 



Joanne Stewart / Hope College

Are the framework models the ones with the pointy central atoms that look like jacks? Those are nice because they make the geometry about the center atom VERY explicit and visual. That, plus their reasonable price, are good selling points.

I'm in Australia this year and they use Molymod kits, which are essentially the same thing as the Prentice Hall Model kits (the ones with balls for atoms and sticks for bonds). I don't really like the way Prentice Hall packages them, whereas Molymod has a lot of different kits and any kind of spare atoms and bonds you could want. You can see a pretty complete listing of Molymod kits on the WebElements site (…).

I really like the Molymod kits a lot because they look like the ball-and-stick representations you see in textbooks. And you can get these little hydrogen atoms called "Molydomes" that stick straight onto the carbon atom. They're less awkward, they take up less space, and they look cool.

I have not taught inorganic with these, so I would defer to someone with hands-on knowledge about their usefulness. I'm also not sure how best to purchase them in the US. I'm going to use them in a couple weeks in a classroom of 100 inexperienced chemistry students, and I'll let you know how it goes!

Sun, 03/29/2009 - 18:08 Permalink
Barbara Reisner / James Madison University

Since I started teaching our inorganic course, I've always used the Prentice Hall Set because of the trigonal bipyramidal and octahedral centers. I work with the organic chemists to choose a set so that students use the same set for organic and inorganic, but it always takes some strong-arming to get the organic chemists to agree to use this set (they like a different one better).  But, given the price of these sets, I think that it's important that the students only buy one.

Several years back as a fundraising activity, our Student Affiliates Chapter bought the parts and pieces sold by molymod and assembled model kits into tupperware containers and sold them to the organic and inorganic students. They were able to make a profit, the net price for the students was significantly lower, and we were able to include more trigonal bipyramidal and octahedral centers in each model kit.

Regardless of how you choose to put together model kits, I would recommend purchasing some additional trigonal bipyramidal and octahedral centers to use in class (or even give to your students) because in my opinion there just aren't enough included with the model kit.

Thu, 04/02/2009 - 06:39 Permalink
Joanne Stewart / Hope College

In reply to by Barbara Reisner / James Madison University


I'm not sure if you'll have this information now, but could you tell us 1) which Prentice Hall set you and the organic chemists compromise on, and 2) what the contents of the self-assembled tupperware kits were. Thanks.

Sat, 04/04/2009 - 18:12 Permalink
Nancy Williams / Scripps College, Pitzer College, Claremont McKenna College
I've used the Molymods, and like them, but I must say, I have a soft spot in my heart for the Darling Models. They're really cheap (under $20), they're larger than the others, they do TBP and Oct decently, and they sell additional pieces cheap, if, say, you want to ask the students to buy $5 worth of wacky geometries to supplement their organic collection of boring carbon.
Sat, 04/04/2009 - 21:24 Permalink
Chip Nataro / Lafayette College

In reply to by Nancy Williams / Scripps College, Pitzer College, Claremont McKenna College

Darling models do Cp ligands.  Yes, you have to be a little creative in the metal geometry if you want something other than say ferrocene, but they do Cp ligands.  And I am not talking about using your hand to hold the ring near a ball representing the metal, the ring will bond.  You can also coordinate other rings, although I must admit the 4-membered get tough.  

Our orgo folks use the small Darling kits for orgo so my kids usually have them for my senior level inorganic course.  They usually have received very little use with the exception of maybe being opened the day of the exam on chirality.

Wed, 04/08/2009 - 10:23 Permalink
Barbara Reisner / James Madison University

In reply to by Joanne Stewart / Hope College

Our organic and inorganic chemists have agreed on the Prentice Hall Molecular Model Set for
General and Organic Chemistry (ISBN 0-13-955444-0).

Unfortunately, it has been too many years since we assembled our own kits so I have no idea what we did.  However, it wouldn't surprise me if we just put together what you can find in the organic kit and then added 4 octahedral centers and 4 trigonal bipyramidal centers. Sorry I can't be of more  help here.

Wed, 04/08/2009 - 21:24 Permalink