This year marked the seventh anniversary of the Southwest Georgia Regional Model Bridge Building Competition. Because of the ongoing support of all the students, teachers and parents from the school systems in the Albany metro and surrounding communities, it has been possible for a small organizing body of Engineers working in the local industry and research organization to continue holding this contest as long as it has. We hope to continue to motivate our students towards an Engineering career by providing them an opportunity to challenge themselves by coming up with innovative designs which will break old records and create new ones.
This year, however, no new records was established though near record number of teams participated. 28 high school teams and 15 middle school teams with over 100 students registered for the competition of which only 2 teams did not show up. Table below shows the total number of participants which included teams from the middle schools also for 2008 and 2009.
The most noteworthy news items of this year's contest was that the top 2 middle school teams scored better than the top high school team. A glance at the table below will show that this year's top high school score was the second lowest since the competition started seven years ago. On the other hand, top scores in the middle school category have risen modestly from 293 to 300 in the last two years. It seems that the high school students need to devote more time and effort in designing and building their bridge next year.
It may appear that all this analysis is out of place here. However, our intention for organizing this event coinciding National Engineers' Week is to prepare students to think logically with a sound scientific basis which is the foundation of all engineering task of which bridge building is a prime example. We may provide some tips in this page (Bridge Building 101) when next year's contest is announced if their is sufficient interest.
This year however, Early County won both the high and middle school category winning the trophies and plaques. Kudos to them. Thomas and Miller county middle schools and Dougherty high school also won prizes. Best wishes to all the winning team members and their teachers. We hope you will do even better next year. Those who did not win any prizes this year, there is all the more reason to come back next year with a better design.
As usual pizza and soft drinks were available for everyone after the competition ended. Participants, teachers, judges and student volunteers also got a commemorative T-shirt.
Georgia Space Grant Consortium sponsored the competition.
The exact date of the next year's competition and any changes in the rules will be posted here sometime in September, 2009.
more information contact: Atin Sinha, Ph.D., P.E.