North Carolina Students Compete in Model Bridge Finals

Wed April 23, 2008 - Southeast Edition

Students from eight schools throughout North Carolina put their bridge-building skills to the test April 11 at the state Department of Transportation’s ninth annual competition.

Four middle schools and four high schools sent approximately 100 students to Raleigh to vie for the top prize.

The teams in the finals won one of eight regional competitions held statewide March 7.

NCDOT organized the event as a way to create a greater awareness of careers in the transportation industry. The competition emphasizes the development of math and science skills and it provides an opportunity to use problem-solving skills and critical thinking.

The model bridges must span between 15 and 20 in., be a minimum of 2 in. wide and be made only from balsa wood and glue.

The strength of each bridge is tested by suspending a container from an opening mid-span. Sand is added at a slow, steady rate until the bridge collapses or a maximum load of 44 lbs. is reached.

Each team is judged on the efficiency of the model (based on the weight of the structure), as well as written and oral presentations and a design drawing.

The winners this year were:

Middle schools: Clarkton School of Discovery, first place; Northwest Guilford Middle School, most unique; and Exploris Middle School, best presentation.

High schools: The Franklin Academy, first place; Fred T. Foard High School, most unique; and Bladen County High School, best presentation.

Two other schools, Canton Middle School and North Moore High School, each placed second.