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. 

    Marbled Christmas Gift Wrap

    Kids, it's really easy to make your own gift wrap which can then be a part of your holiday gifts! You can even add a holiday scent to the paper for an extra special touch.

    MATERIALS. You'll need paper (regular printer paper is fine), shaving cream, food coloring or water-soluble paints, silverware, a shallow pan that's large enough for your paper, and a squeegee or paper towels.

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

    PROCEDURE. Spread a thin layer of shaving cream in the bottom of the pan. You can use a spoon, knife or spatula, or even your fingers. All you need is a shallow coating. Dot the surface of the shaving cream with food coloring or paint or pigment. Use your imagination to pattern the colors. One option is to use the tines of a fork through the colors in a wavy fashion. But don't get too enthusiastic swirling your colors or else they will just run together. Lay your paper on top of the colored layer in the pan, and smooth the paper out over the shaving cream. Remove the paper and either squeegee off the shaving cream (wiping between passes) or wipe the shaving cream off with a dry paper towel. If you do this carefully then your colors won't run or distort.

    Let your paper dry. If it starts to curl first, you can put a book or pan on top to flatten it out before it dries. The marbled paper will be smooth and slightly glossy. Neither the food coloring nor tempera paints should transfer off of the paper once it's dry.

    HOW IT WORKS. The shaving cream has both soap and some water, among other ingredients. Use food coloring, paints, or other pigments that will dissolve in water. The soap (or surfactant molecules) will not penetrate the paper and can be wiped off, leaving the water-based color molecules behind in the paper, and also leaving a clean sheen on the surface.

    NOTES. You can use any paper for this project and will get slightly different effects depending on your selection. You can use any shaving cream, too. If you use peppermint-scented shaving cream then you can make paper that smells like candy canes. And you can use any pigment you like, so be creative!


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    December 2013


    References:  Anne Marie Helmenstine at Chemistry: