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. 

    Baby It’s Cold Outside!

    February 2018:


    Two different sized ziplock bags; Water; Calcium Chloride ice-melt pellets


    In the large bag, put the ice-melt pellets in so that it is about one-fourth full. Fill the small bag about half full with water and make sure that it is sealed well. Place the water bag inside the large ziplock bag and remove as much air as possible and seal the large bag. When you are ready to use the hand warmer, squeeze the water bag till it breaks open or open it up so that it can mix with the ice-melt. Make sure that the large bag is sealed so it doesn’t leak all over. The heating will begin immediately and last for 20-60 minute

    What’s happening?

    Different hand warmers work in different ways. The one that you are making works because some salts (like calcium chloride – CaCl2), when dissolving in water give off heat while others take in heat and get cold. These are called exothermic and endothermic processes, respectively. The calcium ions and the chloride ions are stuck together in the crystal; when you add the water to the salt, the bonds are broken and that will require heat. However, as the Ca-Cl bonds are broken, new bonds are being made between the water and the calcium ions and water and chloride ions. The making of these bonds releases heat – a lot more heat is released here than the heat that was required to break the calcium and chloride bonds. Therefore, the overall process generates heat that you can feel through the ziplock bag.


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

    - Paul Brandt