Students build ’em, judges break ’em in Syracuse University’s Nov. 20 bridge building competition
Students build ’em, judges break ’em in Syracuse University’s Nov. 20 bridge building competitionNovember 10, 2004Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
Note to editor: Reporters and photographers are welcome to cover the event. Bridge judging will take place from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in Gifford Auditorium. Event organizer Peter Plumley, research associate professor in the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science, is available for interviews at 443-5370 or firstname.lastname@example.org and will be available the day of the event.
Nearly 500 students from around Central New York will gather at Syracuse University on Nov. 20 as judges test-and ultimately break-bridges that students have spent the past several weeks building.
The L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) will host the annual “Build ‘Em and Bust ‘Em!” bridge building contest from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. 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 truss bridges from materials and specifications delivered to their schools, and to test their constructs for strength and durability. High school students have the option to build a bridge and/or a jib crane.
On the day of the contest, the judges will test the bridges and cranes for efficiency by weighing them down until they break. Prizes for the strongest, most efficient bridges will be awarded at 12:30 p.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 tours of ECS and a bridge-building activity with LEGO blocks.
“This event provides a graduated level of complexity between fourth-grade design and high school design, resulting in an increasing challenge for students who participate every year,” says Peter Plumley, research associate professor in the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science and organizer of the event. “Our primary goal is for students to learn, retain and appreciate fundamental principles of engineering-such as the relationship between stress and strain. However, ultimately, we expect to motivate many to consider an exciting career path which includes studies in science or engineering. Designing and constructing the bridge structure is a creative and fun hands-on activity and working on a team helps the students learn to communicate and listen to the ideas of others.”
The building competition is sponsored by ECS, Lockheed Martin Corp., the New York NASA Space Grant Consortium, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Technology Alliance of Central New York.