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. 

    Fantastic Plastic


    When Pam the great magician
    Was eating lunch one day,
    Some magic fans came over
    And would not go away.
    The people wanted magic,
    But what was Pam to do?
    She had her plastic lunch bag
    But knew some science, too.

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

    Kids, you can try what Pam did with her zip-closing plastic bag, a sharp pencil, water, and paper towels. Fill the bag almost full with water and zip it closed. Hold the bag over a sink. Slowly push the point of the pencil through one side of the bag, through the water. Push the pencil all the way through to the other side of the bag. The bag should not spring a leak. Why not? Plastic sandwich bags are flexible because of the long, stretchy molecules called polymers from which they are made. When a sharp pencil is poked through the bag, the polymer molecules slide away, and then flex enough to squeeze back around the pencil. This makes a tight, leak-proof seal. It also works for a balloon. Lightly oil a knitting needle, then poke it through the top of a blown-up balloon and out the bottom near the tied knot. Rubber tires on cars also work this way. A gummy layer on the inside of the tire seals around any nails or sharp objects that poke directly into the tire.


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    February 1998


    Taken From: Apples, Bubbles, and Crystals: Your Science ABCs, by A. Bennett & J. Kessler, 1996, McGraw Hill, NY.