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 II. Chemical Breath

    Kids, now we can use the limewater made last month to test for carbon dioxide (CO2) gas in your exhaled breath.  

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

    You will also need a straw and a pint-sized jar. Fill this jar halfway with the limewater. Use the straw to exhale your breath into the limewater, and continue until the clear solution turns milky. Why does this happen? Limewater always turns milky when CO2 is mixed with it. The chemical in the limewater is dissolved calcium oxide (CaO). This combines with the CO2 gas to form a white powder called calcium carbonate (CaCO3). This is not at all soluble in water, kind of like sand does not dissolve at all. Have you ever heard of limestone? This is what you just made with your own breath! The powdery limestone precipitate should settle to the bottom of the jar after several hours.

    (Notes: do not drink this solution - take care with the straw to only exhale, not inhale).


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


    Reference: Janice Van Cleave in "Chemistry for Every Kid", Wiley: NY, 1989.