Well, we made it to and through the USA Science and Engineering Festival once again. As before, kids played the "Marshmallow Game," in which they tried to sink marshmallows by squashing them to learn about density, showed all the colors that make up M&M brown, demonstrated how sour Warheads bubble when dropped in baking soda water, and let kids weigh candy to find the hidden candy in their other foods. Good moments:

--Every time a child stared at the 10 rolls of Smarties that match the sugar contents of one bottle of orange soda

--The kids who were so interested in their chromatography papers that they took them home

--Every time a parent read our blinding orange sign to their kids, so we didn't have to waste our voices repeating the message: "The candy is for experiments, not for eating!"

--The mother who learned that brown M&Ms actually contain red dye, when she'd always told her dye-sensitive children that brown was all right because it was made of chocolate

--Watching my family members, as well as a bunch of super volunteers, step up to demonstrate these exciting experiments.

This picture gives you only a small idea of just how big the convention center was. We were near the back of the room, nearly halfway down, so there were almost as many booths stretching out on the other side from us as well. One report said that USASEF attracted so many people, it made the second biggest crowd ever to fill the convention center. I'll believe it--it was very crowded!

Everybody joined in the fun--family members, friends, and even my kids. For awhile, my four-year-old was the only person manning the Sink a Marshmallow station. She had the basics exactly right: Squash the marshmallow enough to sink it; if you sink it, you get to try a big marshmallow.

I also found some new candy experiments as I was wandering around. Check back for details!


  1. L! We were at the US SEF 2016! It was crazy busy on Friday. We only made it 1/4 thru. The kids learned so! much. We couldn't get to the Kitchen Chemistry exhibit and didn't see Candy Chemistry. Were you all there? You should go to HEAV in VA with a few boxes of both books to sell. My kids love the hands-on and we always end up taking home stuff from those exhibits.


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