National Chemistry Week (NCW) 2010
Behind the Scenes with Chemistry

The Kalamazoo Section celebrated the theme with a poster contest for all children in grades K-12; we submitted two posters (Grades 7 and 11) to the National competition for judging.  Fliers were placed around the city, a live TV show on Monday, October 4, was broadcast at least 5 times during the following 2 weeks to a coverage area of 300,000 residents.  Celebrating Chemistry was distributed to area libraries, and one of our librarians (in Gobles) is such an avid collaborator that she ordered her own copies directly through the link on the NCW site for distribution to her area libraries!  Announcements of our major hands-on event were published in the Three Rivers Commercial-News and the Kalamazoo Gazette, and were included on our Local Public Radio Station calendar.  The Gazette sent a photographer to our largest activity, a hands-on science event, which we held free of charge on Saturday, October 16, for 4 hours at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum.

Given the year’s theme, a former High School chemistry teacher, who had been a consultant to theater groups concerning special effects, offered four 20-minute shows (in which the audience participated) in the Museum’s theater.  We had 600+ patrons come to the event during those 4 hours;  they enthusiastically involved themselves in 24 different hands-on science activities.  High School students, industrial chemists, retired chemists, academic chemists and undergraduate, graduate students and community members, 61 in all, took time to present a program which left patrons wanting more!   For the first time one of our presenting groups was made up of members from Western Michigan University’s Student Group of the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE).

Over the 23 years that our Section has hosted this event many patrons have become loyal participants, returning to get ideas for their own use in their classrooms, their homes, their scout troops, etc. Some who came as children themselves are now bringing their own children to introduce them to activities that meant so much to them!  Many educational materials were distributed from both the current and prior years. A group especially targeted this year was the Brownies who enthusiastically worked on completing their “Try-It” badges.

To encourage return of the safety glasses distributed at the entry point to the program, and to direct the patrons to our event survey, bottles of bubble solution, each decorated with a “Chemistry is Everywhere” sticker, were distributed.

Our 24th such event (we had 2 in 1988) was a great success, with patrons and volunteers already looking forward to next year – IYC2011!

Lydia E. M. Hines
KACS NCW Coordinator