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. 

    "Tearible" Tissues

    Kids, did you ever spill something on your furniture or carpet and be surprised when it was easy to clean up without leaving a stain? Some fabrics are treated with a very thin coating that repels liquids somewhat. In this experiment you will test such a coating by studying the absorbency of tissues both with and without a water repellent substance.

    You will need a can of Scotchguard® spray, facial tissue, 2 clear plastic cups, 2 rubber bands, and water. You will also need proper ventilation because of the Scotchguard® spray fumes.

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

    Open one tissue and drape over one of the cups. Push the center of the tissue slightly into the cup, forming a pocket. Secure it to the cup with a rubber band. Slowly pour some water into this pocket and observe what happens. Now spray a new tissue with Scotchguard®, let it dry, and repeat the experiment. What happens? Does this tissue cause different behavior?

    Why does this happen? The spray forms a coating over the surface of the tissue. The coating is so smooth that any holes present are smaller even than tiny water molecules. Therefore water is not allowed to penetrate through the tissue. You can try this same test on different materials, such as pieces of scrap fabric.


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    May 1995


    Reference: Phil Parratore inWacky Science: A Cookbook for Elementary Teachers, Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co. (Dubuque, Iowa), 1994, page 112.