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. 

    Floaters and Sinkers

    Kids, did you ever want to make a liquid in which you could watch objects automatically swirl around? Here you will make a liquid that generates enough carbon dioxide gas to make objects float and sink. In order to make a really nice display, you will need a one-gallon glass bottle, a full 16 oz box of baking soda, water, vinegar, spaghetti, raisins, and paper clips. This is a good scale to use for a demonstration in front of a class.

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

    Pour the baking soda into the glass jar and fill about 3/4 full. Swirl to dissolve most of the baking soda and allow the rest to settle at the bottom. Add small amounts of vinegar to start the production of carbon dioxide gas bubbles. Then add several paper clips, raisins, and two-inch pieces of spaghetti and watch.

    Carbon dioxide gas collects on the surface of the objects and causes them to float to the surface. At the surface, the gas bubbles burst, the object sinks to the bottom, and the process starts again. The gas forms from the reaction of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) with acetic acid (vinegar)


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    January 1993