Mega Science Festival Draws Mega Crowds

Published: 23 May 2012

Two attendees pose for a picture with Professor Polar Bear.
How do you interest kids in science, technology, engineering, and math? Hold the country’s largest science fair. Drawing the second biggest crowd in Washington Convention Center history, the second USA Science & Engineering Festival was held in Washington D.C. from April 27-29. ARM Education and Outreach exhibited at all three days of the Festival, including Sneak Peak Friday, which included nearly 28,000 students, teachers, military families, government officials, and members of the media. In total, over 150,000 people visited the Festival over the three days.

Professor Polar Bear and the Climate Kids were popular attractions in the ARM booth, with visitors of all ages stopping by to take pictures. Many visitors were interested in ARM’s lesson plans for students from kindergarten through high school, and younger attendees received activity books featuring coloring pages, puzzles, and other activities. A sample “build your own” anemometer was on display, along with construction instructions.

A visitor to the booth tests the sample 'build your own' anemometer.

The US Air Force gave attendees the chance to climb into the cockpit of a jet, while nearby, The Planetary Society booth featured Bill Nye the Science Guy, who signed autographs for a few hours each day. Stages throughout the Convention Center hosted scientists, comedians, and performers such as the MythBusters, speedskaters, robots, astronauts, authors, teachers, and magicians. In total, more than 3,000 exhibits participated in the Festival, including academic institutions, research institutes, government agencies, technology companies, museums, and community organizations.

Crowds wait in line for the chance to see the cockpit of a US Air Force jet.