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. 

    Cloud in a Bottle

    June 2017:

    Have you ever laid out in the summertime looking up in the sky at the clouds and imagined what animal shape the cloud has made? What is a cloud and can I make one?


    • 2 L empty transparent plastic bottle with a lid
    • matches
    • warm water

    Warning! When using matches make sure there is an adult to help.


    Add a small amount (teaspoon or so) of the warm water to the bottle. Squeeze the bottle a bit with the lid off and have an adult light a match and gently blow out the match as it sits in front of the opening of the bottle.   Release the pressure on the bottle to try and draw some of the smoke into the bottle. If no smoke goes in, you can drop a freshly blown out match into the bottle and tightly cap the bottle. Squeeze the bottle multiple times.

    What’s happening?

    You’ll notice that as you squeeze the bottle that the bottle is completely transparent but that when you release the pressure a cloud is formed. Clouds are tiny droplets of water molecules in the air. They are formed when moist warm air rises into the atmosphere and as the air rises it cools, causing the water vapor to form those tiny water droplets. When you squeeze the bottle you cause the air in the bottle to warm slightly and when you release the pressure in the bottle, the air cools. So why are the matches needed? The clouds also need a small surface of something for the water molecules to form onto. This might be salt particles from the ocean spray or other pollutants in the air. The smoke from the match gives those tiny water particles a surface to condense onto inside the bottle.

    Greater pressures can be created by using a pump but that will take more work!


    Paul Brandt

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