Outreach and Education Division

    The EDUCATION AND OUTREACH DIVISION supports chemistry education at all levels, including K-12, college, and adult/continuing education. It maintains liaisons to the Chicago Public Schools and the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT). The Division engages the general public in chemistry-related educational activities, participates in ACS activities at the annual Illinois State Fair, and publicizes all events and news-related content. The division oversees the annual Project SEED program for the Section as well as the Project SEED scholarships. The Division also assists public officials and other community bodies concerning chemistry-related matters. The Education and Outreach Division includes the Education, Outreach, Project SEED, and Public Affairs Committees.

    The EDUCATION COMMITTEE provides chemistry-related educational programs and information to learners of all ages and actively engages with educators at the pre-K-12 and college levels. Subcommittees include:

    • AACT Liaison
    • College Education Subcommittee
    • Continuing Education Subcommittee
    • Chicago School Board Liaison
    • K - 12 Education Subcommittee


    The PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE ensures that section members and public officials and bodies are informed of matters where the knowledge and practice of chemistry is of substantial public importance. These matters can include government issues, environmental issues and the social responsibility of chemists. The Public Affairs Committee gives the Public Affairs Award biennially.

    The OUTREACH COMMITTEE engages the general public, educators and children in chemistry-related educational activities and participates in many different types of events around the greater Chicago area.   Subcommittees include:

    • Community Activities Subcommittee
    • Illinois State Fair Subcommittee


    PROJECT SEED COMMITTEE identifies interested low-income and/or minority high school junior and senior students who are interested in participating in a paid summer research experience with  a college or university faculty member.  It supports financial and logistical concerns for the student/ faculty relationships and communicating  relevant program information to the national ACS organization.  The committee is also responsible for distributing Project SEED awards to support the internships. 

    Dinosaur Science

    Kids, dinosaurs didn't write memoirs or take family photos. But scientists can dig up the real dirt about dinosaurs, thanks to fossils. The only proof scientists have of dinosaurs is their fossilized bones. Original bones are relatively soft and fragile things that cannot survive the test of time, especially not the past 65 million years when dinosaurs once lived. But luckily for us, when some dinos died their bones were covered by mud, rock, or sand. Under this protection and through the years of soil erosion, the bones absorbed minerals from the earth. These minerals made the dinosaur fibulas, mandibles, and other bones very, very hard and resistant to erosion. 

    Please note:  All chemicals and experiments can entail an element of risk, and no experiments should be performed without proper adult supervision.

    It's not too hard (ha ha, get it?) to make your own fossil. First you'll need to cut a small sponge into a bone-like shape using a pair of scissors. Then fill a big bowl with enough sand to bury the sponge, and make sure it's completely covered. While stirring, add enough salt to a pitcher of water until the water becomes murky. Pour this salty water into the bowl of sand until it's thoroughly wet. Put the bowl in a sunny place. This really needs a lot of sunlight so it will take at least a week. Maybe even a few more days if the days are getting shorter and there is not so much sunlight. When at least 7-10 days have passed you can dig up the sponge. In this experiment the mineral that hardens the spongy bones into hard fossils is salt (sodium chloride).

    Did you know that blue whales are even bigger than the biggest dinosaur, the brachiosaurus, which was 35 tons and 46 feet high? The smallest known dino was compsognathus; at 15 pounds it was about the size of a chicken. Excavate these recent books about dinos from a library: "The X-Ray Book of Dinosaurs" by K. Severin (Franklin Watts Pub., 1994), "Dinosaurs: Strange and Wonderful" by L. Pringle (St. Martin's Press, 1995), and "Inside Dinosaurs" by T. Dewan (Doubleday, 1993).


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    November 1998


    Thanks and acknowledgements to: "Bill Nye: The Science Guy" at Submitted by: K. A. Carrado, Elementary Education Committee.