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    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. 

    Rubbery Flubbery Fun

    Kids, this is a procedure for making the non-sticky sort of rubber, or gelatinous slime, that is known as “flubber”. It is a completely safe substance that is not sticky and is non-toxic. You will need an adult partner for handling the heating steps. 

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

    Procedure:

    1. Mix 1 teaspoon of a soluble fiber powder (such as Metamucil®) with 1 cup (8 ounces) of water in a microwaveable bowl. For coloring you can add a drop or two of food coloring, a little powdered drink mix, or some flavored gelatin.
    2. Place bowl in the microwave and heat on high for 4-5 minutes until the goo is about to bubble out of the bowl. Turn off the microwave.
    3. Let the mixture cool slightly, then repeat step 2. The more times this step is repeated the more rubbery your substance will become.
    4. After 5-6 microwave runs, (carefully - hot hot HOT) have your adult partner pour the flubber onto a plate or cookie sheet. A spoon can be used to spread it out.
    5. Allow to cool. You now have some non-stick flubber! A knife or cookie cutters may be used to cut the flubber into interesting shapes.
    6. Flubber can be stored at room temperature in a sealed baggie for several months. It will last indefinitely in a sealed bag in the refrigerator.

    Tip: If the flubber is sticky then the amount of water needs to be reduced. It should be clammy, but not sticky. Use less water next time.

    What’s the science?

    Flubber is a polymer. Polymers are large molecules consisting of repeating identical structural units connected by covalent chemical bonds. Polymers can be naturally occurring or manmade. Manmade polymers are materials like nylon, polyester, and polystyrene. Examples of naturally occurring polymers are proteins in our body like tubulin and actin. The polymer in Metamucil is natural psyllium fiber – a type of polysaccharide. “Soluble” means that it will dissolve in a lot of water, but once the water evaporates the fibers become more and more entangled, forming our gelatinous “goo”.

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    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    February 2010

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    References: 
    Anne Marie Helmenstine’s About.com website at: http://chemistry.about.com/cs/howtos/ht/flubber.htm and
    The Science Café at http://sciencecafe.org/content/2008/12/22/make-your-own-flubber/