National Chemistry Week 2020: Sticking with Chemistry

NCW 2020 Sticking with Chemistry

The Cleveland Section’s NCW Planning Committee met several times via Zoom this past Spring and Summer to establish a regular NCW program based on National’s theme of Sticking with Chemistry.  In normal years we use that theme as a guide to create a program of fun, hands-on, age appropriate chemistry “experiments” for children in grades 2-6.  This program is then presented by volunteer demonstrators at branches of the Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL) system, our longtime partner.

Early on we recognized that the Covid-19 circumstances may not permit its presentation, so we set aside two of the program’s experiments for our student audience to perform at home.  Several issues mitigated against our program this year.  First, National ACS advised against any face-to-face programs.  Then we realized that the performance of even those two experiments at home would require materials that we could not provide this year.  Finally, we judged that simplifying the experiments based on this year’s theme so that home materials could be used resulted in rather trivial exercises.

Ultimately the Committee decided to abandon our program this year and sponsor an on-line contest that the students will perform at home instead.  This contest is based on a different topic which is far simpler to implement with home resources.  It will introduce the students to several chemistry concepts while, hopefully, providing a fun and educational home experience for them.  Our partners at the CCPL have the contest live on their website under their Kids and Teens tab and via posters at each of their branches.  Students will be able to find all the required information about the contest and enter their results via links that we’ll provide to the library.  To increase participation, we’re offering small cash prizes to the top three winners in each of two age groups: grades 2-3 and 4-6.

We have every hope of returning to our normal face-to-face, hands-on program next year.  In the meantime, we welcome anyone interested in our Planning Committee and anyone interested in presenting the program to an audience of children and their parents to join us.  Our Planning Committee meets twice monthly to create the program beginning in April while our demonstrators usually present the one-hour program once during NCW each October.  Please contact Bob Fowler at for additional information.