We celebrated National Engineers Week this year by organizing the bridge contest for the 12th time. Near record number of teams and participants registered. 159 students in 59 teams representing 4 middle and 5 high schools registered for the competition although only 89 students were actually present. These numbers compare with last year's record registration of 66 teams of 169 students from 8 schools. The total number of attendees including contestants, teachers, parents, family members and judges were about 120.

 

In an attempt to improve the design of the bridges and thereby increasing the structural efficiency, this year we bought copies of a commercially available balsa wood bridge building software and provided it free to the participating schools. Though there is no evidence that any school actually used it to help there students, there is a upward trend seen in the all important structural efficiency that is used to judge the winning teams.

 

In the end students have to be instructed how to design and construct the model bridge by their teachers at school and cannot solely be dependent on their parents at home. We will offer the workshops for model bridge design and construction technique for the teachers again  this coming year if there is any interest.

 

This year in the high school category Cardinal Fields Home School group and in the  middle school category Miller County won the champion's trophy and plaque by winning the two out of the first three places.

Table below shows the total number of participants which included teams from the middle schools since 2008 and the results at a glance.

Year No. of Schools No. of Teams No. of Students Registered
2003 7 16 42
2004 5 12 25
2005 4 21 43
2006 5 43 86
2007 3 15 34
2008 10 45 109
2009 9 43 105
2010 8 40 81
2011 8 40 91
2012 9 47 97
2013 8 66 169
2014 9 59 159

Best Bridge in the high school category since inception of the competition

Year Bridge Weight (g) Breaking Load (g) Structural Efficiency
2003 28.1 10276 366
2004 25.6 5789 226
2005 22.8 10198 447
2006 17.5 9489 542
2007 23.7 13253 559
2008 28.1 11114 396
2009 22.7 5930 261
2010 25.8 11542 447
2011 22.6 9332 413
2012 27.5 11932 434
2013 22 5603.5 255
2014 28.3 10811.4 382

Best wishes to all the winning team members and their teachers/mentors. 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 2014 after the advisory committee meeting.

   For more information contact:    Atin Sinha, Ph.D., P.E.
                                                          Coordinator of Engineering
                                                          Phone: 229-430-4820
                                                         
E-mail: atin.sinha@asurams.edu