Paving Roads with Asphalt Cookies

Asphalt CookieAt the annual STEM Expo in Columbus, Ohio, over 140 students in grades K – 8 gathered to explore hands-on activities and exhibits in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math fields sponsored by local firms, professional societies, and educational departments. Among the various organization representatives, WTS Columbus Chapter member, Joy Lanham, was also there to expose children to the field of transportation engineering.

The activity Joy chose to inspire the young minds to learn more about transportation engineering involved cookies (yes, you read that right, cookies). Needless to say, she had the audience’s attention. Joanna Ambroz originally came up with the idea as a graduate student at the University of Nevada-Reno where she also completed her master’s in civil engineering with an emphasis in paving and materials.

Asphalt cookies are chocolate no-bake cookies. The process of making these cookies parallels the procedures used to produce asphalt pavements. Asphalt is a black sticky substance used in road construction to hold rocks together. When heated asphalt liquefies, as it cools, it hardens and becomes solid. A mixture of asphalt and rocks makes good roadway material after it hardens. The similarities between making cookies and preparing pavement include using a hot liquid added to a variety of dry ingredients and mixed together, which when cooled hardens and gains strength.

The presentation was a big hit with students and certainly sparked the interest of those who may become civil engineers in the future.

Click here for the instructions/recipe for Asphalt Cookies.

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