Chemistry at Illinois University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

R.E.A.C.T. - Reaching and Educating America's Chemists of Tomorrow

Chemistry Public Engagement and Outreach

Mission Statement

We are committed to inspiring the community through Chemistry.

General Description
The REACT Outreach Program (originally Kids & Chemistry) began in Fall 2002. It has grown into the largest outreach program of its kind at UIUC and perhaps in the U.S. Each semester, the program visits every local school within a 30 mile radius of campus to work with third grade youngsters in hands-on activities in chemistry. The program also performs demonstration shows and visits local after-school facilities. Through the dedication and innovations of the undergraduate staff, the program continues to expand, delivering a variety of programs to many different facets of the communities in East Central Illinois.

Classroom Visits
Each semester, REACT visits the third-grade classrooms of every elementary school within a thirty mile radius of campus. The program sends groups of five UIUC students to each classroom to perform a lesson in hands-on science, complete with demonstrations. The topics vary by semester but are geared towards every-day chemistry at the elementary level. REACT requires UIUC students to train and practice before their classroom visit. UIUC students are also required to prepare materials for their trips.

Demonstration Shows
The faculty advisor for the club chooses outstanding, veteran undergraduates of the program each year to participate in demonstration shows at local schools and after-school facilities. Once there, the demonstration team aids the advisor in performing an hour long show covering several topics which wow the audience. Past demonstration show sites include Montessori schools in Champaign, Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club, and fourth and fifth grade classrooms in local elementary schools.

Partnerships
REACT has been offered a permanent place in after-school science program curricula to continue the efforts of inspiring and spreading scientific literacy. In Fall 2005, REACT operated in partnership with Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club to bolster their science program for children. UIUC participants visited each week to deliver hands-on science lessons after-school. Currently, we are forming a partnership with The Girl Scouts of America to offer specifically designed activities in science education to local troops. Additionally, UIUC participants have cooperated with the Orpheum Childrens Science Musuem in a partnership to innovate and create new programs within the musuems existing repertoire since 2006.

University of Illinois CHEM Family Nights
REACT hosts on-campus and off-campus sessions for families to do hands-on science together for an evening each month. During each event, University of Illinois participants in REACT lead these sessions, helped with activities and performed demonstrations.

James Scholar Honors Credit
UIUC participants often opt to complete the REACT program for James Scholar Honors Credit. At present, students in CHEM 101, CHEM 102, CHEM 104, CHEM 202, CHEM 204, CHEM 232, CHEM 236, CHEM 332, and CHEM 436 may complete REACT program for their honors project.