Science Meets Poetry: Chemists Celebrate Earth Day Illustrated Poem Contest

Science Meets Poetry with Wonders of Water Illustrated Poem Contest

Chemists Celebrate Earth Day Illustrated Poem Contest. Entries to the contest are due by April 14th, 2014.

Beloved children’s poet Shel Silverstein once wrote, “… let it rain on my skin, it can’t get in – I’m waterproof!” These words – from the poem “Dancin’ In the Rain” – are silly yet somehow scientific, and encourage us to think about what happens when our skin gets wet. There are an infinite number of other water-related thoughts that kids might have, and thanks to an upcoming poetry contest, big thinkers will have a place to share writing that they’ve done about water-related phenomena.

The 2014 American Chemical Society’s Chemists Celebrate Earth Day Illustrated Poem Contest invites students in grades K-12 to write and illustrate poems about water. The official theme, “Wonders of Water,” encourages students of all ages to ponder the role that water plays in their daily lives, in the natural world around them, and in the chemical and physical properties of everything on earth. With a maximum length of 40 words, poems should be concise yet also creative and original – even with a small number of words, students will find plenty of space to make their voice come through.

Combining both science and creative writing, the contest encourages students to experiment with new forms of expression. Poems of many different types will be accepted, allowing students to choose a haiku, limerick, ode, free verse, blank verse, end rhyme, or ABC poem. The variety of styles allows for students of all ages to easily create an entry – while older students may have the strong writing skills necessary to create a beautiful free verse poem, younger students who are still developing their writing skills might gravitate towards an end rhyme or ABC poem.

Before creating a poem, spend some time thinking about water as a family. This time of year is perfect for observing water in the natural landscape – rivers and streams have swelled with rain and melting snow, vernal pools are beginning to form, and grassy areas are constantly changing from puddles to mud pits to lawns depending on the amount of water that’s present. Perhaps your kids made some great ice-related discoveries during the winter, or have been experimenting to find out how to best meet the needs of indoor plants – these experiences and many more make great inspiration for a water-themed poem.

Entries to the contest are due by April 14th, 2014. Local students will enter the Connecticut Valley Local Section Contest, and if their poem and illustration wins an award in the local division, then their work will be entered into the national contest! See winning entries from last year.  Regardless of whether or not they win, however, the contest is still a great opportunity to learn about the properties of water and forms of poetry and are welcomed submissions here on Hilltown Families.

For more information about the contest, contact Dr. Sharon Palmer (Amherst High School teacher and local coordinator of Chemists Celebrate Earth Day) at or 413-362-1537.

[Photo credit: (cc) Lee D’Angelo]

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