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Illustrated Poem Contest

National Chemistry Week

Congratulations to the 2020 winners!

image of student's winning poem
Rishi Khedekar's poem, first-place winner, 3rd-5th grade category, Dutch Neck Elementary School, Princeton Local Section

Each year as part of NCW, ACS sponsors an illustrated poem contest for K-12 students. This year, some changes need to be made to ensure the safety of our volunteers. Please read below for the rules, deadlines, and submission information.


  • All poems must be no more than 40 words, and in one of the following styles to be considered: Haiku, Limerick, Ode, ABC poem, Free verse, End rhyme, and Blank verse.
  • Entries are judged based upon relevance to and incorporation of the yearly theme (Sticking with Chemistry), word choice and imagery, colorful artwork, adherence to poem style, originality and creativity, and overall presentation.
  •  All entries must be original works without aid from others. Physical drawings may be scanned or captured via camera and submitted to the online form. Illustrations may be created using crayons, watercolors, other types of paint, colored pencils, or markers.
  • The illustration may also be electronically created by using a digital painting and drawing app on a computer, tablet, or mobile device. If the illustration is created using a digital painting or drawing app, the name of the program must be included on the entry form.
  • The text of the poem should be easy to read and may be typed before the hand-drawn or digital illustration is added, or the poem may be written on lined paper, which is cut out and pasted onto the unlined paper with the illustration.
  • No clipart or unoriginal images can be used.
  • Only one entry per student will be accepted.
  • Students must be sponsored by a school or another sponsoring group (e.g. Homeschool Association, Boys and Girls Club, Scout Troop, 4-H, etc.).
  • All illustrated poems and/or digital representations of the poems become the property of the American Chemical Society.
  • Acceptance of prizes constitutes consent to use winners’ names, likenesses, and entries for editorial, advertising, and publicity purposes.


K-12 students are asked to submit their illustrated poems directly via the new online submission form.

Submissions will be directed to their associated local section NCW Coordinators. If there is no nearby local section or if the designated local section is not able to process submissions, entries will be directed to a neighboring local section.

Student Submission Deadline: Sunday, October 25 by 11:59 PM Eastern

Local Contests

All poem submissions will first be sent to local section coordinators or chairs to be judged locally in order to be considered for the national contest. Judging at the local level should be done virtually for the safety of our volunteers. The local first-place winners will advance to the national contest. As has happened in the past, only official NCW Coordinators (or Local Section Chairs) may submit local winners to the national contest in a faithful digital format via the NCW Local Section Contest Winners Submission Form.

A Sample Flyer (docx) is provided for local promotion and a Sample Rubric (xlsx) is provided for local contest judging.

Local Section Winner Submission Deadline: Sunday, November 1 by 11:59 PM Eastern

National Prizes

Local winners advance to the national contest for a chance to win cash prizes. ACS will award $300 to first-place and $150 to second-place national contest winners in each grade category!

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