Snatoms are a molecular modeling kit where the atoms snap together magnetically.
The idea with Snatoms is simple - to make the best hands-on chemistry kit available. Snatoms is an improvement over traditional ball and stick models for three reasons:
- It makes forming and breaking apart molecules a snap
- The models are a better representation of what molecules actually look like, and
- You can feel the attraction between atoms
This helps counter the misconception that bonds store energy - they don't. Instead, energy is released when bonds form and is required to break bonds. This is easy to demonstrate with Snatoms.
Kits include the three most important atoms for life: carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen to make glucose - the basic sugar molecule. From these basic building blocks you can build tons of different compounds from water and hydrogen peroxide through to cyclohexane and glucose.
I'm Derek, the creator of Veritasium, a YouTube channel about science with over 3 million subscribers and 220 million views. I have hosted TV shows for PBS and the Australian ABC, plus I'm currently working on a show for Discovery International. My work has also been featured on the BBC, Discovery Channel and History 2. This project allows me to extend my passion for helping others understand out of the virtual world and make a tangible learning tool.
As a teacher I always wanted to convey some important concepts about atomic bonding. Snatoms allow me to do that like no other modeling kit. Here’s why:
- A teaching aid, Snatoms make building molecules fast. As a teacher I know speed is everything. Models have to be ready to go and be manipulated on the fly. Snatoms make learning about atoms and molecules fun!
- Bonds do NOT store energy! One of the most persistent misconceptions is that energy is stored in bonds. Atoms release energy when they bond - and this is why they stay stuck - you have to put in energy to separate them. No kit currently demonstrates this like Snatoms does.
- Bonds are the overlapping of electron orbitals. Previously it has not been possible to represent this in a realistic way (hence sticks representing bonds), but now we can. Snatoms provide a more realistic depiction of molecules.
Snatoms launched on Kickstarter in November, 2015. It was funded in just over an hour and ultimately raised over 1300% of the target. Due to this popular demand we're making Snatoms more readily available to teachers, students, and interested enthusiasts.