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. 

    It's Slime Time!

    Kids, you all know what Slime is, right? Did you know that you can make your own slime at home? Slime is made by reacting just two compounds or ingredients. One is a long chain molecule, a polymer called polyvinyl alcohol (PVA). This is crosslinked with a simple solution of borax (sodium borate). Crosslinking means that the long chains are joined to each other at a few points along the chain. Such a process makes the molecules so heavy that they are no longer soluble in water, and a gel begins to form.

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

    If your adult partner has special access to the following chemicals, a great slime can be made. Add a drop of food coloring to a 4% PVA solution in water in a styrofoam cup. Add an equal volume of 4% borax (Na2B4O7 .H20), and stir the gel with a wooden tongue depressor or ice cream bar stick. Commercial Slime (Mattel) is made by crosslinking guar gum with borax. A polyvinyl alcohol/sodium borate "slime kit" (AP1829) can be obtained from Flinn Scientific, Inc., P.O. Box 219, Batavia, IL 60510 for $2.85. (Sorry, only school order forms or teachers using school letterhead can be used to order from Flinn). "Natural Wonders" (a store in Fox Valley Mall) also sells something called "Professor Wacko's Slime Chemistry Kit" for $29.95.

    Your slime can be kneaded into an elastic, semi-rigid glob that has highly physical properties. If the gel is simply suspended from your hand, it will flow and stretch. It can also be stretched by slowly pulling, but it will break if pulled quickly. When placed in a container the gel assumes the shape of the container. Similarly, it will flow into a film on a flat surface. Because of these physical properties, slime is one example of what is called a non-Newtonian fluid.

    Well, go ahead and squish away! Read the references below for lots more info.


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


    References: (1) J. Chem. Ed. 1986, 63, 57; (2) J. Chem. Ed. 1993, 70, 893; (3) Chemical Demonstrations: A Sourcebook for Teachers, ACS, Washington, D.C. 1987, 2, 95.