Illustrated Poem Contest

Each year as part of NCW, ACS sponsors an illustrated poem contest for K-12 students in the US. Please read below for the rules, deadlines, and submission information, and check out the winning poems for 2023 National Chemistry Week.

Student Submission Deadline: Sunday, October 29, 2023 by 11:59 PM ET
Local Section Winner Submission Deadline: Sunday, November 5, 2023 by 11:59 p.m. ET

Congratulations to the 2023 Poem Contest Winners


  • 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 topic (the 2023 theme is The Healing Power of Chemistry), the word choice and the 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 digitally. 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. 
  • Use of AI in any form (i.e. written or pictorial) is strictly prohibited.
  • 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 (without assistance from others).
  • Students must be sponsored by a school or another sponsoring community group (e.g., Homeschool Association, Boys and Girls Club, Scout Troop, 4-H, etc.).
  • Acceptance of prizes constitutes consent to use winners’ names, likenesses, and entries for editorial, advertising, and publicity purposes.

Student Submissions

K-12 students must submit their illustrated poems directly to the coordinators of their local contests. To contact your local coordinator, visit

If there is no nearby local section or if the designated local section is not able to process submissions, entries may be directed to a neighboring local section.

Student Submission Deadline: Sunday, October 29 by 11:59 PM ET

Local Contests

All poem submissions will first be judged at the local level in order to be considered for the national contest. The local first-place winners will advance to the national contest, which will be submitted by local coordinators. 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 section promotion and a Sample Rubric (xlsx) is provided for local contest judging. Coordinators may also download the Sample Illustrated Poem Contest Entry Form (PDF) or  Sample Illustrated Poem Contest Entry Form (docx).

Official local section NCW Coordinators may contact for help setting up digital submission forms for their local contests.

Local Section Winner Submission Deadline: Sunday, November 5 by 11:59 p.m. ET

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!

National contest winners will be announced mid-November.

National Chemistry Week

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