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. 

    Carbon Dioxide Tests: Part I. Limewater

    Kids, here you will make a solution that can test for the presence of carbon dioxide (CO2 ) gas. This is a two-part project. Save the limewater you make for use in the next issue of ChemShorts. You will need two glass quart jars with lids, a tablespoon, and lime (CaO, the substance used in making pickles, not the small green citrus fruit). Fill one jar with water. Add one tablespoon of lime and stir. Secure the lid and allow the solution to stand overnight. Pour off the clear liquid into the second jar very carefully, do not let any of the settled lime sneak in. Keep the jar of clear limewater closed until needed.

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

    At first the liquid should be milky white and opaque. Opaque means that light cannot pass through, making the solution impossible to see through. The milky appearance is due to undissolved particles of lime that are temporarily suspended in the water. It takes time for all of these particles to settle down. The resulting clear liquid contains as much dissolved lime as it can hold before settling out. This is called a saturated solution. It is similar to dissolving Kool-Aid or lemonade crystals in water. When too many crystals are used, the extra settles out on the bottom.

    The jar must be kept tightly closed so that carbon dioxide from the air won't dissolve in it. We have other plans for this solution.

    (Notes: Do not let anyone drink this solution and let an adult partner handle the lime for you).  


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