Obama Hosts His Last Science Fair: 'If We Invite the Team That Wins the Super Bowl to the White House We Should Invite Science Fair Winners Too'

04/13/2016 AT 06:35 PM EDT

For President Obama, 2016 is a year of lasts.

And that includes some of his favorite events, like the annual White House Science Fair, held today for the final time during the Obama administration. The fair is Obama's brainchild – it began in the midst of his first term, back in 2010.

"You remind us that together through science we can tackle some of the biggest challenges we face," the president told the 130-plus students in attendance. "Whether you're fighting cancer or combating climate change, feeding the world, writing code that leads to social change, you are sharing in this essential spirit of discovery that America is built on."

"By following the trail of your curiosity wherever it takes you, you are continually adding to this body of knowledge that helps make us a more secure, more prosperous, and more hopeful society."



STEM education is a subject close to Obama's heart. He's proclaimed the fair one of his favorite events of the year, but his focus on science extends beyond that. He has a goal of growing the number of math and science teachers in the country by 100,000. The country, he says, is more than halfway to reaching that goal.



And since the White House hosts congratulatory celebrations for all sorts of athletes, Obama said it was only fitting that it do the same for those who excel in science and academics.

"If we invite the team who wins the Super Bowl to the White House, then we need to invite some science fair winners to the White House too," he said.

Students as young as 9 years old were welcomed to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to showcase their science projects – and as you might expect, the results were seriously impressive.

A 15-year-old, Hannah Herbst, created a stable power source using energy from ocean currents. Amro Halwah and Wendy Ni, 18, plus Stephen Mwingria, 17, built a robot designed to clean up debris off the New York City subway tracks. A group of 12- and 13-year-old Girl Scouts developed the "Eco Bin," a metal bin that helps to quickly dissolve Styrofoam and then leaves behind a sticky, non-toxic substance that they've branded "GlOo," to be used for art projects.



That's not all: Other inventions included a more advanced prosthetic leg, an app for LGBT youth, and a faster, cheaper way to test for Ebola.

After giving a speech congratulating the students on inventive projects, the president took a walk around the White House's East Room to greet the students and see their work. Of course, there were lots of laughs.

He met sisters Kimberley and Rebecca Yeung, who created a homemade spacecraft that soared 78,000 feet in the air and landed 51 miles away – near cow dung, but not actually in it.

That last tidbit made the president extra cautious.

"But cow poop didn't get on this?" he joked. "You're sure."

Nope! As Rebecca confirmed, "We checked."
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