Popsicle stick bridge building challenge a hit in 2019, and it’s coming back in 2020

 Recently in Chetwynd, the Association of Engineers & Geoscientists BC (EGBC) held the 2019 Popsicle Stick Bridge Building Challenge in Chetwynd, BC.  The competition has been held for many years in towns throughout Northern BC in SD59 and SD60, including Fort St. John, Tumbler Ridge and Dawson Creek, but this was the first year coming to Chetwynd.  All schools were invited in February to participate, with each interested student/team provided with a free ‘bridge kit’ (popsicle sticks and white glue), generously sponsored by EGBC.  The event was free for students, and challenged them to build the strongest bridge using popsicle sticks by applying math, science, design, and experimentation principles. 

The local sponsor for EGBC was Steve Rainey, P.Eng, who provided a presentation of the basic principles of what makes a strong bridge to students at Don Titus, Windrem, Little Prairie, Moberly, and Peace Christian Elementary Schools.  Students had opportunities to ask any questions about the event, bridge design, and about engineering and geoscience.  Students were then informed of the contest rules: maximum of 100 popsicle sticks, white glue only, and at least a 50cm clear-span.

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The competition was held in the Don Titus Montessori School gym on April 12, 2019, with other schools bringing their entries for testing throughout the day.  The testing apparatus was a modified shop press, which provided a digital readout of the ‘force’ required to break each bridge from a point load at the centre.  Approximately 75 bridges were tested from Chetwynd schools.  Although the students could see the ‘force’ readouts from their school’s bridge testing, the winners were not announced until later the following week (when all schools’ results could be compiled).   

Entries were categorized into ‘Junior’ (Grades K-5) and ‘Intermediate’ (Grades 6+), and students were allowed to pick their own team names.  Prizes in each category were gift cards (sponsored by EGBC): 1st Place: $50, 2nd Place: $40, 3rd Place: $30, 4th Place: $20 and 5th Place: $10.

2019 Winners:

Intermediate – 

#1 Bridge Busters (Peace Christian)

#2 Anjola (Peace Christian)

#3 Quality Thrush (Windrem)

#4 Mustangs (Don Titus)

#5 Team 21.5 (Peace Christian)

Junior

#1 The Bobcats (Don Titus)

#2 Wild Cats (Don Titus)

#3 Creepy Cats (Don Titus)

#4 Never End (Don Titus)

#5 The Invincible (Don Titus) 

The objective of the competition by EGBC is to increase student exposure to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) concepts and increasing their understanding of engineering and geoscience as career options. The event will return to Chetwynd in 2020!

 

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