Partnership Profile: You Be The Chemist Is the Right Answer for Thousands of Students

Thousands of elementary and middle school students across America have been swept up in the excitement of You Be The Chemist (YBTC), an annual competition that injects game show drama into the study of science.

YBTC is run by The Chemical Educational Foundation with support from Dow, the program’s top sponsor. Each year, students take YBTC preliminary tests at participating schools. Then it gets really fun.

The top finishers from each school are invited to live competitions at regional sites across the country. There, they face off head-to-head, answering questions presented by a moderator. The longer students can answer questions correctly, the further they advance. Each round of questions brings heightened tension and generates excitement from participants and their fans in the audience.

Students who are the top finishers at regional competitions move on to the state level, and the top finishers there advance to the national finals. In 2013, more than 20,000 students took part in the competition, and when it was over, sixth-grader Eshan Kemp from Bellevue, Wash., reigned as national champion. Top performers at all levels win prizes ranging from gift cards to iPods to scholarships. It’s enough to get kids to set aside their video games and pick up study materials in preparation for the competition. Not only does YBTC provide a reason for students to learn more about science, it gives them the means to learn more. YBTC distributes Activity Guides to teachers so they can better prepare students. The guides contain almost 1,000 pages of lesson plans, educator-reviewed experiments, activity sheets, supplements, safety information and much more. In addition, YBTC offers Essential Elements, a professional development program that exposes teachers in grades K-8 to inquiry-based learning.

For more information about The Chemical Educational Foundation, go to, or learn more about You Be The Chemist at