Plan a Teach-In

A “teach-in” is defined as a series of lectures and discussions on a subject of public interest focused on taking action. Consider educating the public by planning teach-ins about the importance and everyday applications of chemistry for NCW!


Organizing a Successful Teach-In

1. Form an organizing committee
Contact local ACS members, chemistry faculty, schools, community organizations, and businesses who share your interest in communicating chemistry with the public. See what resources they have available for your teach-in event. Distribute the customizable NCW Fact Sheet (docx) to potential committee members, speakers, moderators, and partnering organizations.

2. Pre-event logistics
Think about the needs of your intended audience and event. The most important decision you will make is deciding which venue or platform you will use for your event. Choose a venue that can accommodate the size of your intended audience. If organizing a virtual teach-in, be aware that some online platforms require registration, others do not. Some platforms allow your broadcast to be recorded, others do not. Seek out volunteers who are savvy in technology to help make informed decisions about virtual platforms. Some ideas include Zoom, WebEx GoToWebinar, YouTube Live, Facebook Live, and Instagram Stories Live.

3. Recruit program speakers
Professors, industry members, lab technicians, elected officials, advocates, local community leaders, and chemistry students make great teach-in speakers. Make sure your community is well represented in your speaker choices.

4. Select a moderator
Your moderator should keep the program on track, help foster discussion between speakers and audience, and help keep your audience engaged.

5. Create an agenda
Introduce your event with the big picture of why the issue is important. Plan enough time for your speakers, Q&A, and group discussion. End with a “call to action” for the audience to take. Share your agenda with local chemistry departments to see if they are interested in creating lesson plans and attending your event or tuning in to your broadcast.

6. Practice with your presenters or test drive your technology
Schedule a time to run through the agenda and answer any questions that your presenters may have. If hosting a virtual teach-in, use the time to also ensure that all cameras and microphones work well, pictures and sound are clear, and that volunteers handling the technology are comfortable with what they need to do (e.g., switching between presenters, monitoring questions from the audience, etc.).

7. Community outreach
Reach out to your local news outlets with resources from the ACS Public Relations Guidebook (PDF). Create flyers and share them to local schools, teachers, and community groups who may be interested in attending the event. Partner with local businesses and leaders who can promote with you.

8. Advertise via social media
Publicize your event on the main NCW Facebook page. Request ACS and NCW as a cohost of your event to add your event to the NCW Facebook and website calendar. Use artwork from the Design Toolkit for your social media events and posts.

Share live updates from your event on social media using the #NCW#NationalChemistryWeek, #ChemistryMakesItGo and #ChemistsCatalyzeChange hashtags. Afterward, share the success of your event through local section newsletters, print, and other communications channels.

10. Follow up with volunteers
Don’t forget to thank speakers, committee members, and other volunteers for pitching in their time and resources to ensure that your virtual teach-in is a success. Customize and (e)mail your volunteers a Volunteer Thank You Letter (docx) and Certificate of Participation (docx).

11. Show collective action
Take photos or screenshots of your speakers during their discussions or lectures. Share those images to the NCW Facebook page using the Event Photos Submission Form. Obtain signed Photo Release and Consent Forms (docx) from anyone pictured in photos, screenshots, or videos

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Contact the ACS Office of Science Outreach
outreach@acs.org