Students build ’em, judges break ’em in SU’s Feb. 14 bridge-building competition
Students build ’em, judges break ’emin SU’s Feb. 14 bridge-building competitionFebruary 12, 2004Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
Nearly 200 students from around Central New York will gather at Syracuse University this Saturday, Feb. 14, to watch judges break bridges the students have built over the past several weeks – and yes, that is the intention!
The L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) will host its “Build ‘Em and Bust ‘Em!” bridge building contest from 8:30 a.m.-noon in Gifford Auditorium, located in SU’s Huntington Beard Crouse hall.
The teams – made up of local students in fourth through 12th grade – have until the contest day to construct small balsa wood bridges from materials and specifications delivered to their schools, and to test their constructs for strength and durability.
On the day of the contest, the judges will test the bridges for efficiency by weighing them down until they break. Prizes for the strongest, most efficient bridges will be awarded at 11:30 a.m. in the following categories: fourth- through sixth-grade teams; seventh- and eighth-grade teams; and high school teams.
The day, which is expected to draw a large number of teachers and parents, will also include a presentation on structural engineering by civil engineering associate professor Riyad Aboutaha; a newspaper tower-building exercise; and tours of ECS laboratories.
Peter Plumley, research associate professor in ECS and the event organizer, says the competition gives students an opportunity to exercise their minds in designing and building a structure.
“They actually experience the thrill of watching their structure support a load; that is something we cannot give them through a lecture or a reading,” he says.
The bridge building competition is co-sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Technology Alliance of Central New York, WCNY and the ECS Alumni Association.