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. 

    An Incredible Edible Landfill

    Kids, how much do you know about how your local landfill actually works? Let's build one of our own while we learn.

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

    A Keebler© ready-made chocolate pie crust will be our hole in the ground. Before any trash can go in, a landfill hole is lined with pipes to remove liquids from garbage and decomposition. Place Twizzler© licorice whips along the bottom of the crust for this purpose. Most real sanitary landfills surround the hole with an impermeable clay lining to prevent harmful waste from leaving the area; the foil tin containing the pie crust can represent this lining. Mix some "garbage" made of nuts, raisins, M&Ms, etc., into vanilla pudding to make your trash, and cover the bottom of the crust. In sanitary landfills, garbage is covered with dirt each day. Cover your vanilla pudding garbage with a chocolate pudding dirt layer. Make as many alternating pudding layers as you can until the crust is full. Make sure that the top is a chocolate pudding dirt layer.

    The garbage we bury never really goes away completely. Not much decomposition occurs because air and moisture - needed by garbage-chewing microorganisms - are sealed out. Many landfills become parks, ski hills, and golf courses. Color some shredded coconut with green food coloring and sprinkle it over the dirt to look like grass. Your landfill is now complete and ready to eat! Dig in!


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


    Reference: "Solid Waste Activity Packet for Teachers", Ill. Dept. of Energy and Natural Resources, page 70. (Contact person: Kathy Engelson, Supervisor for School Education, IDENR, 217-524-5454. Also Jean Dehorn or Carol Fialkowski, Chicago Academy of Sciences, 312-549-0606 x2014).