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. 

    Regular Salt to Rock Salt

    Kids, have you ever seen a chef cook with pink salt or put their food on a big pink slab that looks like a large marble cutting board?  Rock salt is a natural, unrefined salt consisting of large crystals containing mineral impurities. Sometimes the impurities give color to the salt.  Therefore, natural salt can be white, pink, red, or even black. The grain size, color, and flavor make rock salt popular for recipes, bath products, and crafts, but it can be very expensive. You can make your own rock salt from regular table salt.

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

    You'll need:

    • table salt (NaCl); iodized salt, uniodized salt, or sea salt.  All of them work well.
    • water
    • a cooking pot and a stove
    • a clean container in which the solution can cool and the crystals can grow
    • food coloring


    • Have an adult partner heat the water to a rolling boil. Very hot tap water is not hot enough because the solubility of the salt increases rapidly with temperature.
    • Stir in salt until no more will dissolve.
    • Add a couple of drops of food coloring. Two drops of red and one of yellow will create pink Himalayan rock salt.
    • Pour the solution into a clean container. For the cleanest crystals, avoid getting undissolved salt into this new container. For the quickest results though, leave the undissolved salt to help start crystal growth.
    • Let the salt crystals grow as the water cools.  As the water evaporates, the liquid becomes more concentrated and the crystals will grow more quickly.
    • When you have enough crystals (or when they stop growing), pour off the remaining liquid and let the salt dry. You can break it into pieces and store it in a sealed bag or jar.  You can also test to see if it dissolves in water.