This was the 11th year of the bridge contest. This year multiple records were set, both in number of teams and number of students registering in the event. 66 teams of 169 students from 8 schools registered. This compares with the previous record of 47 teams and 109 students registering. In spite of inclement weather with showers off and on, there were about 130 contestants, teachers, parents and family members, judges and student volunteers present on the day of the bridge contest.
Unfortunately, the success of the "Open" category that was introduced last year could not be repeated this year as there was no enthusiasm among the "Bridge" enthusiasts outside the students and as such that category was cancelled.
But there were no records as per as the test results went. As a matter of fact the result was disappointing when compared with the previous years. There were some talks among the judges and specifically what can be done to redress the situation. When the bridge contest was initiated 11 years ago, the intent was to stimulate students critical thinking ability to solve a realistic practical problem as well as give them an early exposure to Statics which is the science behind all bridge building in model form or in full scale. In the early years, we were even conducting workshops for the teachers to provide them design knowhow, so that the structural efficiency the measure by which the winners are selected can be maximized. A small difference in design or construction may make a significant difference in chance of winning or at least a respectable placement. We have included some link in this website also to help students and teachers perfect the procedure of model bridge building. However, in last few years we have seen many students show up with bridges build in complete disregard about the rules of the contest (published here) let alone any attempt to better the chance of winning. Perhaps it is time to offer the workshops again for the teachers who can make their students aware about the step by step process of design, construction and testing of their bridges. We sincerely hope to see an upward movement of the structural efficiencies of the prize winning bridge designs.
As in the last year in the high school category Dooly County and middle school category Miller County won the champion's trophy by winning the two out of the first three places.
As usual the event was reported by the local TV media ( FOX 31) in their 10 o'clock news.
Tables below shows the total number of participants which included teams from the middle schools since 2008 and the results at a glance.
Best wishes to all the winning team members and their teachers. We hope you will do even better next year. Also, thanks are due to the continued support and hard work of all the teachers, parents, judges and student volunteers without whose active participation the event could not have taken place.
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 will be posted here sometime in early fall of 2012 after the advisory committee meeting.
more information contact: Atin Sinha, Ph.D., P.E.