You Be The Chemist builds a better world through the science of chemistry.

  • Inspiring students early in life to pursue science and chemistry in study and careers
  • Engaging educators to build their confidence in teaching hands-on science in grades K-8
  • Strengthening communities by connecting students and educators with volunteers from science industries.

You Be The Chemist builds the future workforce by inspiring students today.


You Be The Chemist Challenge

The Challenge celebrates and elevates the science of chemistry to inspire students to explore the field. This local, regional, and national academic competition is for students in grades 5-8, when most U.S. students have not studied chemistry as its own subject. Students prepare for regional-level competitions, and can advance to the annual National Challenge held in Houston, TX in June.

Student participants report that after participating in the Challenge, they are more interested in STEM careers, aware of chemistry’s role in every day life, and feel more confident in their ability to understand chemistry.

Activity Guides

The Activity Guides are hands-on science lessons that use common, inexpensive items to teach science in the classroom or in out-of-school settings. With over 50 hands-on, exciting chemistry activities for K-8 students, CEF’s Activity Guides empower educators.

These activities can be done anywhere – no lab required! Students can then engage with foundational science concepts that align with learning standards. All Activity Guides can be downloaded for free on our website.

Essential Elements

Essential Elements offers professional development workshops that build confidence in teaching science. We equip K-8 educators with best practices for STEM education, share resources for science learning, and build educator confidence in leading inquiry-based, hands-on learning with students. Educators gain access to our Activity Guides that use common, inexpensive items to teach science in the classroom.

Our participant educators create connections among each other and chemistry professionals in their communities, to enhance classroom instruction and elevate students’ career interests. After Essential Elements, educators indicate increased confidence in teaching science, and plan to offer more science-based activities in the future.