Kalamazoo Section of the American Chemical Society

We are a dynamic and visionary organization committed to improving people’s lives in our community through the transforming power of chemistry.  We strive to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Kalamazoo, Allegan and Van Buren counties.

KACS Report for NCW 2012

Friday 26 October 2012

This event has already taken place. For a list of upcoming events, see our events page.

By Lydia E. M. Hines.

Report on our Kalamazoo Section’s National Chemistry Week (NCW) 2012

“Nanotechnology: the smallest BIG idea in science” —

The Kalamazoo Section celebrated the theme with

  • A poster contest for all children in grades K-12 in our Local Section; two teachers participated in 2 grade categories (6-8, 9-12) with posters submitted for National judging (see below) – our entry for Gr. 9-12 (by Cassie Kiewiet at Heritage Christian Academy) was selected as a National winning entry; she received a certificate and a cheque for $300 from the National ACS (to see all winning entries search the internet for “NCW Illustrated Poster Contest).
  • A live TV interview with two of our members on 2012-10-01 - highlighting the topic and informing the public of the free hands-on Chemistry activity at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum; it was broadcast at least 5 times during the following 2 weeks to a coverage area of 300,000 residents.
  • Our flagship event for NCW was our hands-on science event at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum: Fliers of advertisement were distributed throughout the area, the event was publicized in our online Section newsletter and on our Section website, via e-mail to all K-12 schools, 1000 lacemats (see copy below) were delivered and used at restaurants in corridor areas and announcements and advertisements were published in the Three Rivers Commercial-News, the Kalamazoo Gazette, Excelsior, and a Kalamazoo Valley Museum quarterly magazine, Museon. Local libraries distributed 400 copies of the Celebrating Chemistry publication along with fliers to their young patrons.

This, our 26th hands-on activity (we had 2 in 1988) was attended by 727 patrons during four hours on a rainy, cold Saturday afternoon; fifty-nine (59) volunteers were on hand to present 23 activities from nano-gold, to elephant toothpaste, to slime, to nano-sand, to the volcano; these tables were staffed by high school students, college students, graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, industrial chemists, retirees, and community members. It seemed like all three floors of the museum were a-buzz with joyful learners of all ages. One incentive was the promise of a “prize” to visitors who completed at least 10 activities – the youngsters loved that, and at least 150 availed themselves of the opportunity and claimed a nano mole as their prize.

Over the 25 years that our Section has co-hosted this event with the Kalamazoo Valley Museum 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! [Look for a testimonial in the Comment by Cheryl Frech, chair of the ACS Committee on Public Relations and Communications, in the December 10, 2012, issue of C&EN]. Just this year a lawyer who brought his son to the event took copies of our ACS-provided handouts and reported later that he spent considerable time doing activities at home with his son!

Many educational materials, from both the current and prior years, were distributed. Though the survey software was not functional through the whole afternoon there was delight registered in everyone’s face during the event, and on the way out participants left with questions about the timing of our next activity! [The planned theme for NCW 2013 is “Energy: Now and Forever”]

Fun with dry ice Fun with Dry Ice – Bubbles (photo by Elena C. Hines)

Exploring Fabrication Exploring Fabrication – Gummy Capsules (photo by Elena C. Hines)

Four members of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association from Western Michigan University assisted with refurbishing efforts at a historic home in the West Kalamazoo area as a community outreach to highlight the concept of “Making More with Less”

A reminder to our members that the mission of NCW is to reach the public, particularly elementary and secondary school students, with positive messages about chemistry; its major thrust is the improvement of the public’s impression of the role chemistry and chemists play in every aspect of our way of life and its quality – in the matters of health, materials, energy, technology, and the environment.


Illustrated Poem Entries:

Cassie Kiewiet, Grade 11, Heritage Christian Academy, Rebecca Suman, teacher; Donald and Rhonda Kiewiet parents Illustrated Poem

Kalli Banks, Grade 8, Kazoo School, Janice Russo, teacher; Fred Banks, parent Illustrated Poem