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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. 

    Quick Cups of Crystals

    Kids, this is a great way to quickly make a large amount of crystal needles!

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

    In a cup or a small, deep bowl, mix 1/2 cup of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) with 1/2 cup of hot tap water. Stir for about one minute to dissolve the Epsom salts. There will still be some undissolved crystals at the bottom. You have created a "saturated" solution, which means the liquid has dissolved all of the salts that it can hold.

    Place the cup or bowl into a refrigerator. The cup or bowl will fill with needle-like crystals within three hours.

    If you would like to grow colored crystals, you can color the hot water first with a drop of food coloring.

    Tips:

    • Epsom salts can be purchased in drugstores.
    • Don't use boiling water to prepare your solution. Just use water that is as hot as you can make it from a tap. If you use boiling water you will still get crystals, but they will be more threadlike and less interesting. The temperature of the water helps control the concentration of the solution.
    • You can place a small object at the bottom of the cup or bowl to make it easier to remove your crystals, such as a quarter or plastic bottle cap. Otherwise, carefully scoop the crystal needles from the solution if you wish to examine them or save them.
    • As always with science experiments, it's best to wear gloves and eye protection. Don't drink the crystal liquid. It's not dangerous but it's not good for you either. 

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

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    References:

    Anne Marie Helmenstine at Chemistry.About.com,
    http://chemistry.about.com/od/crystalrecipes/ht/cupofcrystals.htm