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. 

    You have to try it to believe it!

    December 2016:

    After taking last month off of writing ChemShorts for Kids, I thought I’d add another little trick from the Illinois State Fair that Frank Salter shared with many attendees.


    • Coke bottle (or any bottle that narrows to the top but has a pronounced neck)
    • A pen cap

     Rest the pen cap inside the bottle at the opening as you hold the bottle horizontally. Although you can put the cap in either direction, most put it in such that the cap opening is pointed to the outside. Now try to blow the cap into the bottle. What happened and how do you explain it?

    Although there is not much chemistry in the demonstration, it can be explained with a little physics called the Bernoulli Principle. This states that a slow moving fluid (air in this case) exerts more pressure than a fast moving fluid. As you blow into the very narrow opening, the air moves quickly around the cap and into the large opening. Since this is a confined space and the air must come back out again, the greater pressure is that coming from the slow moving air back out of the bottle.

    Make a funnel out of a piece of paper and see what happens when you put the pen cap in the wider end and blow into the pen cap. Try putting the pen cap in the narrow end. Can you explain what happened here?

    - Paul Brandt

    To view all past “ChemShorts for Kids”, go to: