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. 

    Cartesian Diver

    May 2018: Materials: • Plastic drinking bottle (1 or 2 L) with lid• Water• Ketchup or soy sauce packet or pen cap with modelling (or Sculpey) clay Experiment: Fill with water nearly to the top of the bottle. Add the ketchup packet (or if using the pen cap, add about a pea-size p...

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    Baby It’s Cold Outside!

    February 2018: Materials: Two different sized ziplock bags; Water; Calcium Chloride ice-melt pellets Experiment: In the large bag, put the ice-melt pellets in so that it is about one-fourth full. Fill the small bag about half full with water and make sure that it is sealed well. Place the wat...

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    That’s Some Spicy Water!

    January 2018: Materials: Glass, Water, Pepper, Dish Soap Experiment: In a glass of water, lightly sprinkle a little pepper onto it. What do you see happen? Maybe some of the flakes sank and some of them floated? Now, touch your fingertip to the dishwashing soap and then using that finger, touc...

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    Chasing Puddles

    November 2017: In the February 2017 edition of ChemShorts For Kids you investigated some unique properties of water like cohesion. I want to take a look at that again using a different experiment. Materials: Wax paper, Water, Food coloring, Toothpicks, Dropper, Dish soap Experiment: Have differ...

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    Cloud in a Bottle

    June 2017: Have you ever laid out in the summertime looking up in the sky at the clouds and imagined what animal shape the cloud has made? What is a cloud and can I make one? Materials: 2 L empty transparent plastic bottle with a lid matches warm water Warning! When using matches make su...

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    Bath Bombs

    May 2017: What is a bath bomb and why does it fizz when it goes into water? A bath bomb is a solid, powdery substance which can take many shapes. Here is one pictured below. As it's submerged in water, it bubbles. This is the result of the release of CO2 also known as carbon dioxide. This is the...

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    So Much Pressure!

    March 2017: As a kid doing dishes (does anyone do those anymore?), I was always fascinated when I had a glass filled with water and if you put a small plate on top of it and tipped it over, the water would stay in the glass. Back then it never made sense to me how this happened. Materials: - Pa...

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    My Cup Overflows

    February 2016: Here’s the challenge: Fill a glass with water as full as you can without it spilling over. How many paperclips do you think you can add before the water spills over the rim of the glass? Materials: - Box of paper clips or a lot of pennies- Drinking glass- Dishwashing soap ...

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    Windows on a Soda-pop Can

    January 2017: Have you ever seen a can crushed? How about one that has been ripped apart? Crushing an aluminum can may not take that much strength but ripping one apart would be very difficult to do. That is unless you’ve had a little chemical help. Materials: Copper Sulfate (can be fou...

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    You have to try it to believe it!

    December 2016: After taking last month off of writing ChemShorts for Kids, I thought I’d add another little trick from the Illinois State Fair that Frank Salter shared with many attendees. Materials: Coke bottle (or any bottle that narrows to the top but has a pronounced neck) A pen ca...

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