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. 

    Indigo Imprints

    Kids, in this experiment we will be making imprints of objects and then coloring them "chemically" to a beautiful blue-purple (indigo) shade. You will need a 3-inch square piece of architect paper, any solid object to imprint (key, coins, paper cut-out letters, etc.), an empty, clean peanut butter jar with its lid, 1/2-cup household ammonia, several small rocks or pebbles to cover the bottom of the jar to about 2-inches in height, and a bright light (such as a desk lamp).

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

    Place your solid object on the yellow side of the architect paper. Let it sit under a bright light for about five minutes. While waiting, place the rocks in the jar and have your adult partner add the ammonia. Make sure the liquid is just below the surface of the rocks. Cover the jar tightly with the lid. Remove your solid object from the light and notice the "imprint" it left on the paper. Open the jar and carefully place the paper inside, taking care to not let the paper touch the ammonia. Re-cover tightly and observe the paper for about 5-10 minutes.

    The ammonia fumes will turn the imprint a deep blue purple color, leaving the rest of the paper alone. The light has chemically altered the unprotected surfaces of the paper so that it will no longer react with the ammonia, which is a chemical base. Architect paper is a very light-sensitive material, but your object has protected and preserved a small portion of it.

    When you are finished, have your adult partner pour the ammonia down the drain and clean the jar and rocks with warm soapy water.

    Take care not to inhale the ammonia fumes at any point during your experiment.


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    January 1996


    Reference: Phil Parratore, Wacky Science: A Cookbook for Elementary Teachers, Kendall-Hunt Publ., Dubuque, Iowa, 1994, page 76.