Educational Resources

CCEW 2022 The Buzz About Bugs: Insect Chemistry

Find educational resources for this year's Chemists Celebrate Earth Week theme and other materials for your event, including outreach activities, activities, articles, and videos.


CCEW logo

Elementary & Middle School (Ages 5–13)

From Adventures in Chemistry
  • Bugs on the Run – The chameleon is hungry! Use your mouse to raise and lower platforms to send bugs to him. The more bugs you send him and the faster you do it, the higher your score will be.
  • L is for Lens – Make a lens with a drop of water to see the small bodies of creepy crawlies more clearly.
  • N is for Nose  – Use your sense of smell to find food. Insects have other ways to detect aromas and find food. 
From Middle School Chemistry
From American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT)

Consider joining AACT for access to many more resources for chemistry teachers year-round and connect with a community of K–12 chemistry teachers.

Other Resources
  • Nature of Dye – Make bright shades of red, orange, and purple using crushed insects and acid-base chemistry.
  • Chemistry Makes Scents – Follow your nose to investigate a pair of mirror-image molecules.

High School (Ages 14–18)

Landmark Lesson Plan Legacy of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring

  • Lesson Plan – The following inquiry-based student activities are designed for use in high school lesson planning. The handout, activities and video will help students understand the reasons for the widespread use of the insecticide DDT earlier in history as well as its subsequent banning. They will be able to see the lasting effect Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring has had on chemistry itself, our view of the environment and how we weigh the benefits and drawbacks of new materials and technology.

From ChemMatters

ChemMatters is a magazine that helps high school students find connections between chemistry and the world around them.

  • Eating with Your Eyes: The Chemistry of Food Colorings A large amount of the foods we eat contains food colorings. We tell you where they come from, how they work, and the difference between natural and artificial food colorings.
  • Profile | Tyler Thrasher Makes Dead Bugs Sparkle - About three years ago, as Tyler Thrasher was finishing a college degree in computer animation, he decided that he didn’t want to be a computer animator. For inspiration, he flipped through his notebooks, in which he had been sketching objects that fascinated him. His caving excursions exposed him to sparkling minerals, and led him to produce crystal drawings.

From AACT 

Consider joining AACT for access to many more resources for chemistry teachers year-round and connect with a community of K–12 chemistry teachers.

All Ages and Stages

  • Butterflies – Review this amazing collection of activities, magnified images, posters, and citizen science projects help you engage the public through the fascinating world of butterflies.
  • Earth Day – A best of list of resources from the National Informal STEM Education Network, NASA, and others featuring hands-on activities, citizen science projects, apps, poster, and interactives, to celebrate our favorite planet with our favorite people.

Celebrating Chemistry (Ages 9–12)

Activities for Science Outreach Events

  • Bugs to Dye For
    Cochineal bugs are used today to color many things including food, beverages, and cosmetics. Try this activity to discover how! 
  • Taking the Sting Out of Bites
    Bites or stings from certain bugs, such as red fire ants or bees,  can be extra irritating. Explore some common remedies and see how effective they are!
  • Amazing Aromas
    In this activity, you will assemble some common aromas from natural fruits and flowers and from products that use scents as part of their ingredients. 

K-12 Contests

Illustrated Poem Contest - As part of every CCEW celebration, ACS sponsors a national illustrated poem contest for K-12 students. To participate, contact your local section CCEW Coordinator.

CCEW Lesson Plan Contest for K-12 Teachers

AACT is excited to offer a content writing opportunity for K–12 teacher members! Participants submit an idea for one exciting and unique lesson plan reflecting the 2022 Chemists Celebrate Earth Week theme, The Buzz About Bugs: Insect Chemistry. AACT will select one winning lesson plan for the K–8 grade level, and one winning lesson plan for the high school grade level. The winning lessons will receive $250 and be featured on social media! Learn more and enter today!

Resources from the Earth Day Network

  • Teach-In Toolkit
    Plan an effective teach-in on topics like reforestation, climate change, food waste, plastic use, and more! Bring your community together and build capacity to make change!
  • Climate Civics Toolkit
    Explore ways to learn more about the local impacts of climate change and what it means to be an active participant in community civic action. A week’s worth of activities and lessons for learners ages 8-18 and beyond.
  • Food/Carbon Calculators 
    Several different calculators for measuring your footprints.
  • Billion Acts of Green 
    Ideas for actions you can take to lessen your footprint. Add your own!

Find more resources at

More Resources for Educators

General Interest

Find CCEW-themed resources for college students and adults.

Contact icon

Contact the ACS Office of Science Outreach