The MIT Chemistry Outreach Program was developed in 1988 to bring the excitement of chemistry to middle school and high school students in the Greater Boston area. Each year MIT Chemistry graduate students visit science classes to present chemistry demonstrations designed to illustrate a broad range of chemical principles. Our goal is to stimulate students’ interest in chemistry, to demonstrate the relevance of chemistry in everyday life, and to encourage students to consider pursuing careers in science and medicine. We visit approximately 20-30 schools and present the program to more than 1,000 students every spring. An article on the MIT Outreach Program has been published in the Journal of Chemical Education, Vol. 66, p. 668, 1989.
The presentation includes sections relating to chemical reactions, acids and bases, polymers, naturally occurring compounds, light, and temperature. These demonstrations have been selected for both their visual appeal and their relevance to everyday life.
The standard program consists of a 40-50 minute presentation by two graduate students followed by a question and answer session. We are willing to perform 2-3 sets of demonstrations in order to accommodate 2-3 class periods. No special facilities are required, all supplies are provided by MIT, and there is no charge for the program! If needed, the length of the program can be adjusted for shorter or longer class periods.