STEM Turns into STEAM


Want to submit an application for a ChemClub Community Activity Grant before June 1, but don’t have a project idea? Or, is your Club simply looking for something new to try? Why not turn STEM into STEAM? Fusion Science Theater (FST) takes Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education to a new creative level by adding the Arts. The Fusion Science Theater website describes FST as a STEAM outreach program that uses the secrets of theater to create outreach shows that actively engage children in learning science. They’re short, interactive shows that weave demonstrations together with predictions, modeling, and a storyline, targeted for an audience of grades 1 through 5.

How can you bring this program to your area? Apply for a Community Activity Grant to purchase a FST show performance kit! The kit will give your Club everything they need to perform the show in your community. The kits include a show script, video of a live performance of the show, list of materials and props you’ll need, a handbook for training and performance tips, and even instructions on how to assess learning achieved during the show.

Choose from:

  • If I Were an Atom to explore kinetic molecular theory and how atoms move in the solid phase. Watch a video preview.
  • Bouncemania! with a “Wrestlemania”-style match between happy & sad toy balls to learn about polymers and molecular structure. Who will be crowned “The World’s Bounciest Ball”? Watch a video preview.
  • Will It Light? to test and model the flow of electricity through different substances, as students investigate conductivity. Watch a video preview.

FST shows are more than just sharing your typical demos. They are inquiry-based. Show characters lead students to investigate a question that motivates the audience to learn a basic chemical concept. The shows are highly interactive. Audience members get to assist on stage, vote for their prediction of what will happen in a demonstration, and more. It’s easy to measure the impact and learning using assessment info included in the kit. The theater techniques and elements used are a great way to keep your audience’s attention.

For more information, download a PDF of the FST flier that was also included in a recent ACS ChemClub resource packet.

Get out there and generate some STEAM!

Share Chemistry in Your Community


Free money! Take your pick—$300 or $500.

April Fool’s, right?

No, really. Free money!

April 1 (no fooling) marks the start of the annual grant application cycle for the ACS ChemClub Community Activities Grants. It’s a great way for Clubs to fund activities that share chemistry in some way with those around them. Clubs have done things like perform a demo extravaganza, do hands-on activities at a local library, start a recycling program at their school, and tons more.

Grant activity at library

Clubs have until June 1 to submit applications. Clubs that are awarded grants will receive the money to use during the 2014–2015 school year. Chartered ChemClubs can receive up to $300 for activities done by their own Club, or up to $500 for activities together with an ACS college-level chapter or an ACS Local Section.

Everything you need to know to get started is at the ChemClub Community Activities Grants page. There’s even a grant writing worksheet and grant checklist to use for your planning, with questions you’ll need to answer on the application. Applications can be written by Club advisors or Club members (in consultation with the advisor).

For even more help, ACS staff recently offered the webinar “Write Your Way to Success: Grant Writing Strategies for You and Your Chemistry Students.” Watch for the webinar (coming soon!) on the ChemClub page—it has tips that will take you from coming up with a great idea, to telling your story about it in the proposal, to applying, then hopefully celebrating your successful application and carrying out your plan.

What are ways that you’d like to share chemistry with your community? The money to do it can be there for your Club. No joke!

A Spongebob Outreach Program

The Edison School Visit was a great experience not only for us chem clubbers, but also for the fourth graders.  We got to give back to the communityour community that gave us the great opportunity to be involved in science and explore it even more in chemistry club.  One of the best things this annual trip does is open the eyes of the fourth graders to the endless possibilities in the science field, especially chemistry.  It allows them to experience the fun and mysterious chemistry that most people don’t hear about and get themselves into a positive mindset of science in general.  After our activity, one of the kids actually came up to me and told me that we inspired her to join ChemClub when she goes to high school.

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Spongebob from Niles West

We prepared a mystery for the little fourth grade detectives to solve involving Spongebob.  The detectives, then, tested four white powders with four “indicators”, and compared their observations to the one mystery white powder to see who committed the crime!  They enjoyed it so much not only because of the theme but also because of the chemistry in it.  They were especially amazed at the bubbling reactions, and the reactions that turned the white powders pink.  The eagerness of the kids as they prepared the chemicals, the faces of the kids as they saw their first chemical reaction, and the astonishment of the kids as they saw the simple rules of chemistry play out in front of them are all worthwhile reasons to keep this activity going!

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Student Presents Posters at ACS National Meeting

Ankit Vij PresentingAnkit Vij, a student at Highland High School, presented two posters at the ACS National Meeting in San Diego, Calif., March 2012.

Ankit Vij Presenting

The photo to the left shows Ankit with his poster about investigating arsenic in ground water, which was the topic for the Highland ChemClub’s International Year of Chemistry (IYC) grant project. The ACS Mojave Desert Section and Chemists Without Borders helped with the project by providing equipment, such as the Arsenator, filters, and training.

The photo to the right is of Ankit with his other poster presentation on  Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), an emerging water pollutant.