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. 

    Money, Munchies, and Magnetism

    Kids, you probably already know that iron is magnetic. In this column, we will demonstrate a way to prove that there is iron metal in two places that you have probably not ever realized: a one dollar bill and a bowl of cereal! You will need a bar magnet (chemists can use long thin stir bars), a dollar bill (or $5, $10, $20 - they all work), and a box of cereal that claims to be high in "reduced" iron (like Total®).  

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

      First we will do the money experiment. Hold your bill straight down by the very edge of a short end - a newer bill works best because it will hang straight. With the other hand, slowly move the bar magnet lengthwise along the back of the dollar bill as close as possible without actually touching it. What happens? There should be at least one portion of the bill where it actually moves toward the magnet, or is "attracted". Why is this? Some, but not all, of the ink used in printing paper money is deliberately magnetic. This method is used to try to foil possible counterfeiters, and it also helps aid in the detection of counterfeit money!

    In the second experiment, soak a few cups of the cereal in a large bowl of water until it is mushy. Vigorously stir the mixture with a wooden spoon for five minutes. Then add your bar magnet and continue stirring, more slowly, for several minutes. Carefully nudge the magnet around the bottom of the bowl a few times, then let the mixture stand for about ten minutes. Slowly pour off the "mush" and examine your bar magnet. Is it covered with small black needles and specks? This is the "reduced" iron (iron metal) that is actually added to the cereal because it is healthy for us to have iron in our diets. Chemists will find this easy to do using a magnetic stir plate, and a large beaker and stir bar. The more cereal you start with and the more time you give, the more iron you will collect!


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


    Reference: From a "Weird Science" demonstration given by Lee Marek and Bob Lewis at Nalco on 12/4/90.