Bridge Building Competition

Tension Builds...

The annual Bridge Building Competition is a chance for middle and high school students to build their own model bridges and test them on the Gordonator.

On March 30 the High School Bridge Building Competition was held in Judd Hall on the Randolph Center Campus. Tensions were high, and the room was a buzz of activity, 33 high school teams from around the state had been preparing for this day.  Countless boxes of Popsicle sticks, packages of dental floss, and tubes of glue went into creating these unique and surprisingly strong bridges. At 8 AM Thursday morning, the teams arrived at Judd hall carefully cradling their bridges, their days of hard work all leading to this moment where their engineering skills would be tested.

On April 13, the middle schoolers got their turn on the Gordonator. Three awards were given based on bridge weight capacity. Team number 32 from People's Academy created a bridge that could withstand a whopping 1,089 pounds of pressure. They were the second team to present their bridge and they absolutely crushed it, literally.  Their bridge was so strong that the pressure gauge maxed out and had to be swapped for a one with a higher range.

Bridge strength is tested in Vermont Tech’s student-made bridge crushing machine, the Gordonator. The Gordonator applies downward pressure to the bridge which can be read in PSI on the equipped gauge. On the Gordonator 1 PSI equals about 16 pounds of pressure.

Geoff arranges bridges to be crushed

Here are the overall winners of the 2017 High School Bridge Building Competition:

The award for Largest Actual Load went to team #4 from Hartford High School with a bridge that could hold an astonishing 617 pounds before breaking. The team, Troy Potter, Eric Zietz Jr., Parker Strawbridge, and Matthew Lucke also took home three other awards for Aesthetics and Originality of Design, Presentation and Team Spirit, and Structural Efficiency. For their efforts, these future engineers received $2,500 scholarships to Vermont Tech.

1st Place and recipients of $2,500 scholarships to Vermont Tech
Team # 4 from Hartford High School
Troy Potter, Eric Zietz Jr., Parker Strawbridge, and Matthew Lucke   
Evan Ellerson, Advisor

The winning team

2nd Place and recipients of $1,500 scholarships to Vermont Tech
Team #18 from Arlington Memorial High School
Parker Blomberg, Austin McAffry, and Lane Nolan   
Karen Schroeder, Advisor

3rd Place and recipients of $1,000 scholarships to Vermont Tech
Team #17 from Arlington Memorial High School   
Chloe Moran, Damien Burdick, and Tanner Robinson
Karen Schroeder, Advisor


Individual Categories:

Aesthetics and Originality of Design
Team # 4 from Hartford High School
Troy Potter, Eric Zietz Jr., Parker Strawbridge, and Matthew Lucke   
Evan Ellerson, Advisor

Presentation and Team Spirit
Team # 4 from Hartford High School
Troy Potter, Eric Zietz Jr., Parker Strawbridge, and Matthew Lucke   
Evan Ellerson, Advisor


Lowest Error in Predicted Load
Predicted load: 65 pounds.  Actual: 61 pounds
Team #10 from Burlington High School   
Matt Boisvert, Sam Hays, Andrew Holway, Tasha Kleppner, Roman Thapa   
Colby Skoglund, Advisor

Actual Load in Competition
617 pounds
Team # 4 from Hartford High School
Troy Potter, Eric Zietz Jr., Parker Strawbridge, and Matthew Lucke   
Evan Ellerson, Advisor

Structural Efficiency Actual Load/Weight of Bridge
Team # 4 from Hartford High School
Troy Potter, Eric Zietz Jr., Parker Strawbridge, and Matthew Lucke   
Evan Ellerson, Advisor

Lowest Weight of Bridge
1.76 Pounds
Team #27 from Randolph Union High School
Collin Fordham, Joseph Leonard
Vickie Johnson, Advisor

 

Here are the overall winners of the 2017 Middle School Bridge Building Competition:

1st Place
Team #32 from People's Academy Middle School
Noble Beerworth, Josephine Simone, Anna Isselhardt, and Jacob Fougere
Karsten Weiss, Advisor.

2nd Place
Team #45 from Woodstock Elementary School
Jacob Carey, Ethan Dean, and Jack Deliso
Marcia Gauvin, Advisor

3rd Place
Team #13 from Barre Town Middle School
Elizabeth Bradley, Riley Madison, Madeline Benoit, and Carisa Hebert
ML McLaughlin, Advisor

View all the photos from the High School Bridge Building Competition here.

View all the photos from the Middle School Bridge Building Competition here.