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Wednesday, 20 March 2019 11:49

17 teams compete in statewide bridge competition

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Model wooden bridges are displayed March 15 during the regional competition at the NCDOT headquarters auditorium in Raleigh. Model wooden bridges are displayed March 15 during the regional competition at the NCDOT headquarters auditorium in Raleigh. NCDOT

RALEIGH — High school and middle school students from across North Carolina showcased their impressive engineering skills last week during the N.C. Department of Transportation’s annual Model Bridge Building Competition.

The challenge was hosted in these four regional locations:

  • Region 1 in Kinston, with the winning students from West Craven Middle School and Whiteville High School.
  • Region 2 in Raleigh, and its victors were from NC-MSEN Middle School and Franklin Academy High School.
  • Region 3 was held in Asheboro, where the winners were from Highfalls Middle School.
  • Region 4 met in Morganton, and the first-place prizes went to Polk County Middle School and Polk Early College

The student teams’ entries adhered to specific structural guidelines, including having a minimum clearance span of 20 inches, weighing no more than 30 grams, and being made of balsa wood.

On Friday during the regional competitions, the teams carefully displayed their crafted creations on tables before the judging began. Team members then described their strategies when building their models. To test the sturdiness of the students’ handiwork, judges suspended a bucket under each bridge and added sand, one scoopful at a time. Eventually, all of them collapsed, as the teenagers looked on.

The bridge that held the most sand won. A winner was chosen from a middle school and a high school at each regional event Friday

Since 2000, NCDOT – in partnership with Carolinas Associated General Contractors and the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina — has hosted the statewide Model Bridge Building Competition to encourage students to develop math and science skills that are used in transportation, construction and engineering careers.

“This competition is always an exciting opportunity for students to demonstrate the power of teamwork and creativity,” said Sterling Johnson, the NCDOT coordinator of the Model Bridge Competition.

The winning teams will compete again on Friday April 26 at the final statewide competition. The event will take place at the NCDOT’s Transportation Building in downtown Raleigh.

Last modified on Wednesday, 20 March 2019 11:53

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