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. 

    Magic Writing

    Kids, let's try to write a message that will appear as if by magic on paper, using chemistry. You will need a soup bowl, some tincture of iodine, a lemon, some notebook paper, a cup, and an art paintbrush.

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

    Procedure: - pour 1/2 cup water into the bowl - add 10 drops of iodine to the water and stir - squeeze the juice of the lemon into the cup - cut out a smaller-than-bowl-sized section of paper - dip the art brush into the lemon juice and write a message on the paper - let the juice dry on the paper - put the paper in the iodine solution in the bowl

    What happens? The paper should turn a blue-purple color everywhere except where the message was written, so that the words are outlined by a dark background. Why? When starch molecules in the paper combine with iodine, the combination is blue-purple in color. But Vitamin C (from the lemon) combines with iodine to form a colorless molecule. The area covered with lemon juice remains unchanged in color because of this.  


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