By Cassie Chesson

There were lots of chocolatey hands at the USA Science and Engineering Festival this weekend, as NEED was there with chocolate syrup in tow! Hundreds of students filed through booth 4820 to play Getting the Oil out, a critical thinking activity that requires students to suck thick oil (chocolate syrup) and thin oil (cola) out of two wells using pipes (straws) that they construct. It’s a viscous lesson in engineering!

If that wasn’t enough energy fun, students could head over to the other side of the booth and challenge themselves to light a bulb using only the materials they saw on the table. There were alligator clips, batteries, flashlight bulbs, and tin foil. Trial and error was the name of the game and boy were they excited to see the light!

The event, held at the Walter E. Reed Convention Center in D.C. drew thousands of participants. Student groups and teachers used Friday as a field-trip opportunity and parents came out in droves with their kids over the weekend. Thank goodness for the staff help we had to keep the challenging questions, chocolate syrup, and fun well-stocked!