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. 

    Make Fake Glass

    Kids, why aren’t people really hurt in movies when they appear to be thrown through glass windows?   To discover their secret you can make stage "fake" glass by heating sugar and spreading it onto a cookie sheet.

    Be sure to have adult supervision when you do this activity!

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

    What You Need:

    • 1 cup sugar (sucrose)
    • a flat baking sheet
    • butter or baking paper
    • a candy thermometer
    • a small pan
    • a stove or good hot plate

    What to Do:

    1. Spread butter onto a baking sheet or cover a baking sheet with baking (silicon) paper. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to chill it.
    2. Pour the sugar into a small pan on a stove and warm it over low heat.
    3. Ask an adult partner to stir the sugar continuously until it melts. Be patient because this will take a while. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature of the melt.  Rremove the pan from the heat when the sugar turns clear (this is the "hard crack" stage on the thermometer). This will make a colorless transparent fake glass.
    4. If you heat the sugar just past the hard crack stage it will turn amber and it will make a colored translucent fake glass.
    5. Your adult partner should then pour the melted sugar onto the chilled baking sheet. Allow it to cool. You now have made candy glass.

    The candy glass can be used as windows in dollhouses or gingerbread houses, or for lots of other things we can surely be creative in finding.


    Boiling water can be used to dissolve the sugar residue and speed clean-up.

    If you like, the glass can be colored using food coloring. Add the coloring after the sugar has melted and has cooled slightly.

    Be extremely careful because molten sugar is very hot, and can cause serious burns.


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