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. 

    Chasing Puddles

    November 2017:

    In the February 2017 edition of ChemShorts For Kids you investigated some unique properties of water like cohesion. I want to take a look at that again using a different experiment.


    Wax paper, Water, Food coloring, Toothpicks, Dropper, Dish soap


    Have different colors of water available and using a dropper, put a few drops of water in different places onto the wax paper. Stick the toothpick into the middle of one of the droplets and move it around on the wax paper. You can move the droplet around to wherever you like and even join your droplet with another to make a droplet twice as big. Try mixing different colors of droplets and see what happens. Once you finally tire of dragging around droplets, put your toothpick into some soap and then try dragging your droplet. What happened?

    What’s happening?

    Just like last February’s article, water is a polar molecule which means that there is a positive and negative end to the molecule – similar to a magnet. And what happens when magnets are put together? They stick together like water molecules stick together. Wax paper on the other hand is nonpolar and so water has a much greater attraction for other water molecules than it does for nonpolar wax paper. Therefore the water molecules would prefer to hang out together (cohesion) than to be associated with the wax paper. Once you add the soap however, the soap molecules have the effect of breaking down those attractive forces that the water molecules have for each other and create what is referred to a as a micelle. In the diagram below you see the soap molecule has a nonpolar end and a polar end. The water (H2O) is attracted to the polar end while all the nonpolar ends hang out together. This nonpolar end is going to be attracted to the wax paper so the water tends to have more attraction toward the wax paper now since it is associated with it through the soap molecule.


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

    Paul Brandt