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. 

    Cola Experiments

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

    Experiment #1. Kids, imagine a cooler filled with cans of soda at a summer picnic. Did you ever notice that all the diet soda cans float on top of the ice-cold water, while the rest have to be fished out from the bottom? You can see this for yourself if you have a can each of a regular and diet soda. Put them in a large container of water like an aquarium, a cooler, or even the bathtub. Both cans are the same size but they weight different amounts because of the extra 2/3 ounce of sugar in the regular soda. It is enough to make the heavier one sink and the lighter one float on water. The cans differ in their "density", which is the amount of mass in a certain size. Mass is the amount of matter in a body (an astronaut weighs less on the moon but has the same mass as on earth).

    Experiment #2. One of our sources tells us that Coca Cola contains only traces of extracts from the coca plant and the kola nut. In this experiment you can come pretty close to making one of the most closely guarded of all trade secrets - the formula for Coke. Mix well in a glass: 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon bottled lime juice, 1/2 cup club soda, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Close your eyes and give it a try, you might be surprised! This mixture will look very different from real colas because there are no artificial colors added yet. Experiment with the amounts of the ingredients a little bit to get the taste just right. Bon Appetit!


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    June 1992