American Chemical Society
The American Chemical Society (ACS) offers a wide variety of programs and publications
designed to improve precollege science education. The focus here is on three national
programs in which scientists play important roles:
- In "Kids & Chemistry," scientists visit classrooms or informal
education settings involving children between 9 and 12 years of age to do demonstrations
and lead small groups of students in hands-on activities.
- In Project SEED, research scientists act as mentors to economically disadvantaged
high-school students during the summer.
- In Operation Chemistry, scientists are members of teams that provide professional
development to grades 4-8 chemistry teachers.
Also provided here are brief descriptions of three programs of curriculum development
and related professional development for teachers. These use scientists less but are
important ACS activities:
- Chemistry in the Community (ChemCom)
- Active members and officers of scientific and technical societies with an interest in
improving their societies' involvement in science education will find the American
Chemistry Society projects of interest. The ACS is much larger than most other societies,
but the extent, range, and chosen focus of its science education activities are
- Scientists in disciplines related to chemistry with little or no previous involvement
with K-8 science education might want to become involved in "Kids &
Chemistry." This program helps volunteer scientists learn a little about what goes on
in young people's classrooms while also allowing them to make a real contribution.
- Chemists, chemical engineers, and related technical professionals involved in laboratory
research can contribute to the education of economically disadvantaged high-school juniors
and seniors by becoming summer mentors under Project SEED.
- Scientists who wish to become involved in the professional development of teachers are
likely to find and be able to observe "Operation Chemistry" workshops in their
- Chemists and chemical engineers can play an important role as resources for the
developers in the ACS' three national curriculum programs: FACETS, SciTeKS, and ChemCom.
Scope of ACS Activities. The ACS is the world's largest scientific society, with
more than 150,000 members, mostly chemists and chemical engineers. The ACS is recognized
as a world leader in fostering scientific research, and it also sponsors a host of
educational activities at all levels. Among the ACS Education Division's many activities
are several projects in formal science education, including curriculum development. Among
the ACS Office of Public Outreach's many activities are several projects that enlist the
volunteer efforts of scientists all over the country, such as "Kids &
Chemistry." In some of these projects the ACS 188 local sections play a role.
Chemistry." This national program managed by the ACS' Office of Public
Outreach brings volunteer scientists into classrooms and other settings to do chemistry
demonstrations and to lead children, ages 9-12, in hands-on activities. The activities
were developed by ACS and are available in pre-packaged "activity packs" that
include two activity books. "Kids & Chemistry" training is available to
scientist volunteers at ACS national meetings and through employers and ACS local
sections. The ACS views the 9-12 target age range as critical because this is when many
students lose interest in science.
|Project SEED. This national
program managed by the ACS' Education Division places economically disadvantaged
high-school students in academic, industrial, and government research laboratories for
eight to ten weeks during the summer. Each student participates in a chemical research
project under the direct supervision of a scientist/mentor and, in so doing, learns what
it is like to work as part of a team engaged in hands-on research. Each student receives
an educational stipend and may also apply for a second summer.
|Operation Chemistry (OpChem).
In this national program directed by the ACS' Education Division and supported by the
National Science Foundation, four-person "OpChem teams" are trained at national
summer institutes to provide professional development to teachers of chemistry in grades
4-8. Each team consists of a college faculty chemist or science educator, a chemist from
industry, a high-school teacher, and a teacher from the target grades. A variety of
formats are used by the teams in their professional development of local teachers. Funding
for this phase is usually found through federal Title II grants, foundations,
universities, local businesses and industries, and/or the teachers' school-systems.
| Three ACS Curriculum-Development Projects.
- FACETS is a grades 6-8 curriculum composed of 24 modules that integrate the
science and technology present in the chemical, biological, and geoscience industries. The
curriculum can be supplemented by classroom visits by area scientists.
- SciTeKS is a two-year "tech-prep" program under development for grades
11 and 12 students who are planning to enter a community-college technician program or to
seek direct employment in industry as technicians. Scientists and technicians have helped
develop the activities.
- ChemCom is a year-long high-school chemistry and society program that includes
course materials and professional development.
Organizational Information and
Contacts. Look here for information about the ACS' Education Division, Office of
Public Outreach, and contacts.