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. 

    Clearly it's Vitamin C

    Kids, which has more vitamin C in it: Tang® drink mix or orange juice? Let’s use some chemistry and a color test to find out. Have an adult make an iodine solution by adding 1 teaspoon of tincture of iodine to 1 tablespoon of water in a labeled plastic cup.

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

    Use two 8-oz plastic cups to make a starch solution: dissolve the 4 starch pellets (biodegradable packing peanuts available at mailing supply stores) in 1/2 cup of water. Cover the other cup with a coffee filter in an indented bowl-like shape. Pour the starch solution through the filter and label this clear solution as “Starch”. Label three 3-oz plastic cups as “Vitamin C Test”, “Tang Test”, and “Orange Juice Test”, and put 1 tablespoon of starch solution in each. Now add 1 drop of the iodine solution to each test cup using an eyedropper. What happens? They should all turn blue from the starch/iodine complex that forms.

    Label a fourth cup “Vitamin C Solution”. Crush up a vitamin C tablet, put it in the cup, and add 2 tablespoons of water with stirring. Now place 1 drop of this vitamin C solution in its test cup (“Vitamin C Test”) and swirl. What happens? (If nothing happens add another drop). Next mix 3/4 teaspoon of Tang® powder in 2 tablespoons of water in the fifth cup and label it “Tang Drink”. Put a drop of this drink in the Tang Test cup. Does it take more drops to turn the solution clear than vitamin C? Lastly, add 1 drop of orange juice to its test cup. Does anything happen? How many drops of orange juice does it take for this solution to become clear?

    So which has more vitamin C in it, Tang® or orange juice? The more vitamin C a solution has, the fewer drops it takes to turn the starch/iodine solution clear. So the fewer drops it takes, the more vitamin C the solution has. Try testing some other drinks for vitamin C, such as calcium-fortified orange juice, orange soda, lemon-lime soda, cranberry juice, or anything that says “ascorbic acid” (another way of saying vitamin C) in the list of ingredients.


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    October 1999


    Reference: “WonderScience” from the American Chemical Society, 1999, vol. 13(6), issue on chemistry & color (ACS, 1155 Sixteenth St., N.W., Washington, DC 20036).

    P.S. The tablet should have the most vitamin C, followed by Tang, and lastly the orange juice (which has the least).