Plan a Hands-on Science Event

No matter how small or large your community, or whether your event is in-person or virtual, find suggestions for hosting a hands-on science event or demonstration. Find information on planning, fundraising, promoting events, and more.

Organizing a Successful Event

Before Your Event

  • Form an organizing committee. Contact local ACS members, K-12 schools, chemistry departments, community organizations, and businesses who share an interest in learning and teaching chemistry. See what resources they have available for your event. Distribute the customizable NCW Fact Sheet to potential committee members, demonstrators, and partnering organizations.
  • Recruit and train your volunteers. Professors, industry members, lab technicians, and chemistry students make great teach-in speakers. Make sure your community is well represented in your list of demonstrators.
  • Choose a venue or digital platform to host your event. Request permission from potential venues (local school, library, museum, etc.) to host an event. Learn about event insurance coverage and request a certificate of insurance from ACS. Some online platforms require registration, others do not. Some platforms allow your broadcast to be recorded, others do not. Some ideas for digital platforms include Zoom, WebEx GoToWebinar, YouTube Live, Facebook Live, and Instagram Stories Live.
  • Minimize risk for a safer event. Facilitating hands-on activities or performing chemistry demos in public outreach settings requires special safety considerations beyond the established standard operating procedures of your lab. Complete one RAMP worksheet for each hands-on activity or stage demo you take out of the lab, on the road, and into public spaces.  
  • Get your event details in order. Check your space for exits and emergency equipment. Order any materials you don’t already have. Write a detailed procedure for the way the demonstration will be performed.Obtain photo release forms from partnering schools and other youth groups.
  • Practice your hands-on activities or demo and test drive technology. Using your detailed written procedure, practice the hands-on activity or demo the way it will be performed to make sure it works correctlyPractice the virtual demo in front of a virtual test audience like your organizing committee and any other demonstrators. Ensure that all cameras and microphones work well, picture and sound are clear, and that volunteers handling the technology are comfortable with what they need to do (e.g., switching between demonstrators, monitoring questions from the audience, etc.).
  • Fundraise for your event. This helpful fundraising guide contains ideas for funding sources, sample fundraising letters, acknowledgement letters, and more.
  • Advertise via social media. Request NCW and ACS 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. Create digital flyers and email them to local schools, teachers, and community groups who may be interested in attending your event. Partner with local businesses and leaders who can promote with you.

During Your Event

  • Distribute giveaway items. Disseminate NCW-themed merchandise and hard copies of Celebrating Chemistry to attendees. These products can be purchased through the ACS Store.
  • Amplify your live event. Share live updates from your event on social media using the hashtags #ACS_NCW#NationalChemistryWeek, and #Chemistry. Afterward, share the success of your event through local section newsletters, print, and other communications channels.
  • Measure event success. Distribute surveys for attendees to complete to measure public impact and awareness.

Following Your Event

National Chemistry Week

Outreach Activities

Explore hands-on activities aligned to this year's NCW theme, "The Healing Power of Chemistry."

Interested in more training?

Check out the free Outreach Training Program, offered as in-person workshops or as an online course.

Looking for graphics?

Download professionally-designed themed branding materials, flyers, and web banners in our Design Toolkit to print or share on social media.

Contact icon

Contact the ACS Office of Science Outreach