The Martian Book versus Movie

While the ChemClub Virtual Book Club is about the printed version of The Martian, it would be hard to never mention the movie version. The movie gives the characters faces and voices making it more appealing to a wider audience. We’ll explore resources for both the film and the novel in this blog post, but remember to share your thoughts with us in the comment section and on Facebook or Twitter using #ACSChemClubBook. Continue reading The Martian Book versus Movie”

AACT: A Great Resource for Teachers of Chemistry

AACT logo The American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) officially launched in September. As a ChemClub advisor, you can further supplement your students’ chemistry experiences by joining for the annual fee of only $50, and preservice teachers can join at the discounted price of $25.

Some member benefits include being part of a community of K–12 teachers of chemistry, access to high-quality resources, and subscriptions to the ACS publication ChemMatters and the new AACT online periodical Chemistry Solutions, which is written by and for teachers of chemistry.

AACT’s website has collections of original multimedia that may be of interest to ChemClubs. AACT partnered with New York Times bestseller Sam Kean to bring his book “The Disappearing Spoon” to life—each short video in the series features Sam narrating a story inspired by his book about various elements.

There is also a series of videos about the founders of chemistry: Learn about Mendeleev’s journey to assemble the periodic table, the ancient chemists who paved the road for what chemistry is today, the first female Nobel Laureate Marie Curie’s life story, and others.

One mission of ChemClubs is to provide students with fun, authentic, and hands-on opportunities. The library of classroom resources on AACT’s site includes lessons from teachers across the country and around the world. Peruse the collection and try some of the demonstrations with your club members. Safety precautions in each lesson are outlined in detail, so if you have an outreach program, you can gauge right away whether the activity is appropriate for your students to run, or whether it should be facilitated by an instructor. AACT has a number of lessons that are designed for student-to-student interactions, including this cabbage activity. And if you have a great activity you’ve done with a club, you can submit it to the AACT library, and AACT will credit your ChemClub with its contribution.

Ferrous WheelIn each issue of Chemistry Solutions there is a column called Chemistry Fun! In the September issue, the column featured pictograms of phrases that were puns of chemistry concepts. For example, what is this? Your club members may get a kick out of activities included in this column.

You can subscribe to AACT email updates by completing the “Stay in Touch” field in the footer of Or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest for other news and information from AACT. We are excited to be part of the K–12 chemistry community, so share with us ideas you have by emailing

A New Flame

ACS recently announced the release of  two new videos they hope you will find perfect for sharing with your students or other teachers. One celebrates the contributions of African-American chemists and the other gives little-known chemistry solutions to everyday problems.


  •  Chemistry Life Hacks: One part Mendeleev, one part MacGyver, this video shows how to brew the perfect cup of coffee, clean stubborn skillets, and solve other dilemmas.  Click “subscribe” and you’ll have a new episode of the award-winning video series Reactions (formerly Bytesize Science) to share with students each week.

  • Five Black Chemists Who Changed the World: Features contributions of Percy Julian, Mae Jemison and three other notable African American chemists.  It was co-produced for Black History Month by ACS and the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE).

  • Another great resource is the 2014 Flame Challenge, inspired by Alan Alda and co-sponsored by ACS.  The Flame Challenge dares scientists to answer a fundamental question about the world around us in a way that 11-year-olds can understand. This year’s question was “What is color?” Entries—written or video—were screened for accuracy by scientists and judged by a panel of youngsters. The contest for 2014 closed at the beginning of March, but if you click on the Flame Challenge link above it takes you to the ACS site to see examples of some of the winning entries.  The videos could be used directly with your class, with younger students or as an inspiration for videos your students may want to create.

Stay tuned for the results of the 2014 Flame Challenge winners.