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The Northern Lights are created from 'curtains' of energy and magnetism entering the Earth's atmosphere
"When school starts each fall, the first question my students always ask me is, 'When is the Challenge?!'"

-Darcy Welsh
Illinois Middle-School Educator

Welcome to You Be The Chemist!

The Chemical Educational Foundation's You Be The Chemist® (YBTC) programs are designed to enhance K-8 science education by introducing the central role of chemistry in all the sciences and in our everyday lives. To accomplish its mission, CEF relies on the collaboration of industry, educators, and all members of a community to enhance science education among every generation, beginning with our youth.



CEF's current YBTC programs include:

YBTC Essential ElementsYou Be The Chemist Essential Elements

YBTC Essential Elements is designed to assist K8 educatorsour “essential elements” in educationin teaching chemistry concepts through hands-on learning and connecting those concepts to students’ everyday lives. During an Essential Elements workshop, the instructor will lead educators through a full 5E learning cycle utilizing a lesson from the YBTC Activity Guides. The 5E model is a constructivist learning cycle focused on inquiry-based learning. Following the lesson, educators will have the opportunity to discuss the lesson further and ask questions. The workshop will then proceed with additional lessons from the Activity Guides.


Visit the Essential Elements page for more information on the 5E learning cycle format and how to bring an Essential Elements workshop to the schools in your community!


YBTC Activity Guides
You Be The Chemist Activity Guides

The YBTC Activity Guides: Lesson Plans for Making Chemistry Fun offer a variety of exciting science lesson plans, enabling educators to bring hands-on learning to students, inside and outside of the classroom. The Activity Guides are divided according to grade level, one for grades K4 and the other for grades 58.

Together the Activity Guides contain almost 1,000 pages of educator-reviewed experiments, activity sheets, supplements, and a resource guide filled with safety information, and much more. The content of the guides aligns to the national framework established for the Next Generation Science Standards.

The Fourth Edition Activity Guides are now available in a flash drive format for purchase or as downloadable PDF's for free! Check out the Activity Guide page to see how to download them.

YBTC Challenge

The YBTC Challenge is a fun and interactive academic competition that engages grade 58 students in learning about important chemistry concepts, scientific discoveries, and laboratory safety. Challenge competitions are exciting events that take place across the country, encouraging the collaboration of industry members, schools, and community organizations, as together, they educate students about the value of science education and the role of chemistry in their everyday lives. The Challenge cycle culminates in the National Challenge in June, held in Philadelphia and organized by CEF. 

CEF would like to thank The Dow Chemical Company Foundation for their Diamond Sponsorship of the
You Be The Chemist® programs.


 CEF's Style Guidelines

CEF's Style Guidelines serve as a resource for you as you begin to talk about CEF's programs in your community. These guidelines help ensure that the overall identity and look of CEF's communications and marketing materials are consistent across all programs and outreach activities. Contact CEF's Communciations Specialist at klarson@chemed.org with any questions.