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. 

    How Sweet It Is!

    Kids, did you ever notice at your summer family picnics that all the cans of diet soda float on top in a cooler of ice water, while regular sodas have to be fished from the bottom of the freezing cold water? It is obvious that the densities of the two are quite different. Density is a property used by chemists to help identify substances. It is the amount of mass in a particular volume of a substance.

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

    Place one unopened can of diet cola and one unopened can of regular cola (do not use bottles) in a large container of water, such as a 5 gallon aquarium or a regular pail. Make sure no air is trapped under the cans. Using the glass container makes a nice visual demonstration for a large group such as your classroom. Both cans occupy the same volume (they are the same size), but they weigh different amounts because of the extra 18 grams or so (about 2/3 ounce) of sugar in the regular soda.

    Fill a clear plastic cup 2/3 full of water and place a straw on an angle all the way in. Use an eyedropper to carefully drip some regular cola through the straw and into the bottom of the water cup. Do not stir the liquids, and notice where the cola stays. Now repeat the procedure using the diet cola, a new cup and straw, and a rinsed eyedropper. Does this one behave differently from the regular soda, and do you think it has anything to do with what the cans of soda did earlier? Now let's drink to density with what soda is left in the cans!


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    April 1994


    References: J. Chem. Ed. 1986, 63, 515 and WonderScience 1993, 7(6).