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. 

    Totally Tubular Plants

    Kids, as you know, plants need water to live. Water goes from the root, up the stem, and into the leaves. Did you ever wonder how the stem is specially made so that water can travel up it? This experiment will help you find out.

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

    You will need a glass one-third full of water, blue food coloring, and a 8-10" stalk of celery that has been freshly cut on both ends by an adult partner. Notice the small dots on the narrow end of the celery stalk. Add 5 drops of the food coloring to the water and place the wide end of the celery in the water. After a few hours you should see that the little dots on the top of the celery are now blue. Use a fingernail to start pulling away one of the blue tubes at the top. Can you pull it all the way down and remove it totally from the stalk? Try another experiment with two new celery stalks. Carefully remove all of the tubes from only one new stalk and then place them both in the blue water. Compare them after 24 hours.

    This activity should help you discover how water can move up through a plant stem. Many plants have a series of tube-like cells that bring water up, and another set that takes nutrients produced in the leaves down the plant. After 24 hours, the celery without the tubes should be much more limp than the piece with the tubes intact. You might also be surprised to see what happens to a white carnation after being placed in a glass of water with food coloring for several hours; try other food colors and make a multi-colored bouquet! (Hint: cut about 1" off the bottoms of the of the carnation stems first).   


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    Aug-Sept 1993


    Reference: WonderScience, 7(5), May 1993.