The Chemistry Outreach Program was developed in 2021 to bring the excitement of chemistry to middle school and high school students. Each year KLEF Chemistry graduate students visit Middle and High school classes to present chemistry demonstrations designed to illustrate a broad range of chemical principles. Our goal is to stimulate students’ interest in chemistry, to demonstrate the relevance of chemistry in everyday life, and to encourage students to consider pursuing careers in chemistry.

The presentation includes sections relating to chemical reactions, acids and bases, polymers, naturally occurring compounds, light, and temperature. These demonstrations have been selected for both their visual appeal and their relevance to everyday life.

The standard program consists of a 40–50-minute presentation by two graduate students followed by a question and answer session. No special facilities are required, all supplies are provided by Dept. of Chemistry, KLEF and there is no charge for the program! If needed, the length of the program can be adjusted for shorter or longer class periods.


In this experiment, a reaction occurs in which different states of iodine cause the reaction solution to “magically” oscillate between different colours.

In this demonstration, 'paper' currency is dipped in a solution of water and alcohol and set alight. The water absorbed by the fibres of the bill protects it from ignition.

Sulphur hexafluoride is an odourless and colourless gas. Although students know fluorine is extremely reactive and usually quite toxic, the fluorine is safely bound to sulphur in this compound, making it safe enough to handle and even to inhale. Two noteworthy chemistry demonstrations illustrate the heavy density of sulphur hexafluoride relative to air. Another demonstration is if you inhale sulphur hexafluoride and speak, your voice will seem much deeper.

Make a colourful erupting volcano in your kitchen with lemons and baking soda!

Have you ever wanted to send your friend a secret message that no-one else can read? Then you might know of invisible ink. How does this work? Find out in this activity and write your own secret messages!

In this first of two polymer experiments, synthetic nylon (a polymer) is prepared by combining the two parent monomers, a bis-acid chloride and a bis-amine. Students are introduced to polymers and are able to witness polymer chemistry in action.

In this experiment, students see another application of polymer chemistry. A cross-linked network polymer swells by absorbing 100 times its weight in water! Then, the polymer expels the water as the network collapses.

Here, a naturally occurring acid/base indicator is extracted from purple cabbage and used to test the pH of a range of household items. This colorful experiment serves as a great review of acid and base chemistry, as well as an introduction to naturally occurring chemical compounds.

This experiment is to make a miniature chemical fountain using only soluble ammonia and atmospheric pressure.

To show how the energy of a chemical reaction can be given out as light by revealing how a solution of sodium chlorate(I) oxidises an aqueous solution of luminol (3-aminophthalhydrazide) to produce a blue chemiluminescent glow – without any increase in temperature.

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