High School Education

    The High School Education Committee has two primary functions: coordinating the Chicago ACS Scholarships and Exams, and the regional round of the annual Chemistry Olympiad.


    To provide support for teachers during this unprecedented time, AACT has decreased teacher member dues by 10% through April 30, 2021.  Teachers who join or renew during this time will pay $45.  Joining will allow you to gain access to over 900 classroom resources, a library of professional learning webinars, subscriptions to ChemMatters magazine and Chemistry Solutions, and more.  Go to teachchemistry.org for more information. 


    Teacher Kits are back.  The Chicago ACS Section has 50 K – 12 educator experiment kits to hand out.  This is the 3rd big kit that the section has done this year.  Every kit has the supplies and instructions for teachers so they could do the activities in their classroom.  Please fill out the linked form to sign up to receive a kit.  Kits will be available in April at several locations.   Videos about the activities will be linked on the website for teachers to be able to understand how and why about an activity.  There are over 12 experiments that can be done multiple times.  Topics with this kit include:


    • Intermolecular forces – looking at the polarity of various dyes
    • Cartesian Diver
    • Making a Spectroscope
    • Rate of Dissolving
    • Discrepant Event
    • Acids and Bases
    • Corrosion
    • Paper making
    • Earth Day activities
    • Electrolysis
    • Measuring a wavelength of light


    There might be one more kit will be available this school year for teachers to do demonstrations and labs with their students.  Please stay tune to see if there is one more kit this school year. 


    The Chicago Section offers several scholarships to high school students in support of their college education. Every year in May, the High School Education Committee administers an exam to students nominated by their teachers, and scholarships are awarded based on their ranking in the results:

    $5000 for First place
    $3000 for Second place
    $2500 for Third place
    $1500 for Fourth place
    $1250 for Fifth place

    In addition, we give scholarships for special purposes:

    The Marie Ann Lishka Memorial Scholarship is awarded to the female student who scores the highest: $2000

    The Marshall S. Smoler Award is given to the top-scoring student from Chicago Public Schools: $200

    The Bernard E. Schaar Award, from the Chicago Chemists' Club, is given to the highest-scoring student from the City of Chicago: $500

    Students taking their first year of high school chemistry are eligible to take the scholarship exams, but students in Advanced Placement Chemistry are NOT ELIGIBLE. Advanced students are encouraged to participate in the Chemistry Olympiad.

    Full details, including nomination forms and practice tests: Scholarships page

    Chemistry Olympiad

    The Chicago ACS administers the region's exams in the International Chemistry Olympiad. High School Chemistry teachers nominate their top students (up to eight per school) to take exams, and the students with the top 20 scores advance to take national-level exams (also administered locally by the Chicago ACS). Students with the top 20 scores in the nation may then attend a "boot camp" at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the top four students in that program are chosen to represent the U.S. in the International Chemistry Olympiad.

    Full details can be found on our page: Chemistry Olympiad 

    Teacher Excellence Award

    Starting in 2018, the Chicago ACS has created an award to recognize and promote excellence in high school chemistry education.  For more information, click here.


    For information on chemical and laboratory safety, go to safety page

    K-12 Education Subcommittee

    TThe K – 12 Education Subcommittee provides educational programs and information in chemistry and related sciences for pre-K through 12 teachers and children.  The subcommittee administers the Annual Scholarship Examination, Chemistry Olympiad Exam, and provides professional development and activities to pre K-12 educators and students. 

    K-12 Education Subcommittee Committee Chair

    Russell Kohnken
    Evanston Township High School
    K-12 Education Subcommittee Committee Chair

    Fran Karen Kravitz

    Chemistry demonstrator extraordinaire Lee Marek was our guest at our December 2015 meeting and holiday party, and he got brave members of the audience to participate in a few fun demonstraitons:

    1) Sparky arcing:

    Lee Marek shows sparky arcing at the Chicago ACS Holiday Party 2015 from ACS Chicago Section on Vimeo.

    2) The big bang:

    Lee Marek makes a big bang at the Chicago ACS Holiday Party 2015 from ACS Chicago Section on Vimeo

    3) Disappearing ink:

    Lee Marek explains the disappearing ink demo at the Chicago ACS Holiday Party 2015 from ACS Chicago Section on Vimeo.