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. 

    "D" is for Dissolve

    This column is for you real little ones - those of you who have just begun school and are learning your letters. You will learn the letter "D, d" with the basic scientific concept of dissolving something. Get a clear plastic cup, water, a pencil, a paper towel, a twist-tie, and a kool-aid packet.

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

    Carefully cut the paper towel into four equal squares. Place about one teaspoon of Kool-Aid in the center of a square. Fold it shut and close it with a twist tie. Tie the ends of the twist tie around the center of a pencil. The pencil acts as a support rod to dangle the kool-aid packet into the empty cup - just place the pencil down lengthwise on top of the cup's opening. Pour water into the cup until it just touches the bottom of the packet. Observe for a while, then add some more water.

    Write your name on a sheet of paper and a title: "D d Dissolve" to practice your "d's". Then draw pictures of four simple cups. On two of them, draw your pencils and packets as well as you can. Draw in water levels on all four cups. (Or your teacher or a parent can have these already drawn for you). Now draw what happens when (1) the packet barely touches the water (2) the packet is soaked in water (3) when crystals are sprinkled directly to the water (no packet), and (4) after some time has passed. Using the paper towel, a type of "schlieren" effect occurs, like when heat waves are seen over a hot surface. You can also try other materials to test whether or not they will dissolve, such as table salt (yes), sugar (yes), or sand (no).


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


    Thanks and acknowledgements to Marlisa Ebeling, a primary level teacher in Naperville District 203.