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. 

    An Elementary Game

    Kids, did you ever think about building your own collection of chemical elements? This can be a fun science project and a great "Show & Tell" classroom session. Look back at our previous article on the periodic table (June 1998) and also at for great sites that discuss the more than 100 pure elements that exist in the universe. These sites will tell you the differences between elements, compounds (two or more elements bound together), and mixtures (two or more compounds). 

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

    Many of the elements are difficult to find in their pure state, but quite a few are fairly easy to get a hold of. A list of suggestions along with possible sources is provided below. How many of these elements can you find? Can you find any others on the periodic table that we haven't thought of here?

    • aluminum ­ wire or foil
    • carbon ­ pencil (graphite), diamond
    • chromium ­ chrome-plated metal
    • copper ­ electrical wire or an old penny
    • gold ­ 24K gold jewelry
    • helium ­ party balloon
    • iron ­ masonry nail
    • lead ­ fishing line weight
    • nickel ­ coin
    • silicon ­ solar cell
    • silver ­ jewelry, real silverware, backs of mirrors
    • sulfur - matches
    • tin ­ metal sheets at hobby shops, tin cups
    • zinc ­ metal strips from hobby shops
    • platinum ­ jewelry
    • neon or argon ­ gas in neon signs

    There are others that are a bit hazardous and so you should only let an adult partner handle them for you. Examples are mercury if kept contained in a thermometer or thermostat switch, and tungsten filaments if left in unbroken light bulbs.


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    October 2001


    References: T. D. Burns, Chemistry Activity Book, 1995, Woodkrafter Kits, Inc., Yarmouth, ME 04096-0808.