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2020 Spaghetti Bridge Competition

2020 Spaghetti Bridge Competition

Author: Gay Ellyett
Author Role: Coordinator Exceptional Scientists' Program

In early September, 31 students from Years 7 to 11 entered the annual Spaghetti Bridge Competition organised by The Engineering Link Group and generously sponsored by the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

More than 100 bridges built entirely of glue and spaghetti were entered by schools from around Queensland, with CHAC teams Chactastic and Spathetic taking out first ($1000) and second ($500) prizes respectively.

The competition requires students to apply both engineering and problem-solving skills as their bridge must be as close as possible to 300 g, but must not exceed it, and it must span a gap of 35 cm. This requires careful planning, designing, testing, and skilful joining of spaghetti with glue to produce a symmetrical, strong bridge capable of taking a load. Students can enter as individuals, or in teams of up to four. CHAC entered eleven teams.

We estimated that it takes approximately 24 man-hours to build a spaghetti bridge, and on the day of testing, eight students and I ventured into the city to test eleven bridges. CHAC has participated in this competition since 2014, and it is open to all students from Years 7 to 12. 

The results and reflections from students follow:

Team

Members

Load (kg)

Year Level

Chactastic

Ben Hamilton

76.7

10

Kara Pizzica

Spathetic

Daniel Greenaway

25.8

9

Samuel Paech

Danielle Weizman

Tom Wood

Big Brain

Jonah Carpenter

0.7

7

Anton Kalwy

Pasta la Vista

Rhiannon Lewis-Jones

2.9

7

Erika McDonald

Madeleine Simpson

Pastanauts

Luke Tonkovich

3.6

7

Daniel Tonkovich

Georgia Buckett

Unbreakable

Ethan Le

13.0

7

Oliver Thompson

Brandon Jam

Oliver Begley

0.2

8

Felix Hine

Sidney Marshall

Liam Simmons

Mission Impastable

Zali Campbell

2.1

8

Siaan Miller

Pastafarians

Dominik Beveridge

9.1

8

Stanley Cullin-Way

Flynn Gardiner

Bridge Bois

James Gardiner

19.9

11

Matt Sloman

Other Bridge Bois

Lachlan Fagg

12.6

11

Ryan Warwick

 

The Spaghetti Bridge Competition was a great opportunity to test our innovative skills and create a bridge to the best of our ability with spaghetti and glue. Although Ben and I have participated in this challenge many times, each year brings its own challenges and we strive to create better bridges. This year we struggled to ensure our bridge was under the weight limit of 300g. After many hours, many arguments, and two scales, we were able to get our bridge to 299g on the day. For the first time, all our family enjoyed watching the test day live from home. It was an honour to represent CHAC at this competition, and we can’t wait to compete again next year! Kara Pizzica, Year 10 for Chactastic

As every year, the Spaghetti Bridge Competition was one of the most unique competitive exercises I have taken part in. The challenge brought out the best in all team members, and we all enjoyed working together on such a unique project. My favourite part of the program was testing day and the excitement of watching all the bridges struggling to hold the most weight before collapsing dramatically. I am very pleased at having achieved second place and will return next year. Tom Wood, Year 10 for Spathetic

Our bridge sadly could not perform as well as It could because of a small breakage on the trip to school but we are still proud of what we did. Things that we could improve on include making sure it is strong and symmetrical because that pays a huge roll in structural strength and getting it to school without having it damaged so it can perform at is best. Overall this was a fun competition which helped my team collaborate and become closer as friends, so in my books it doesn’t matter that our bridge didn’t perform as well as long as we had a fun time doing it. Anton Kalwy, Year 7 for Big Brain

Our team enjoyed the process of building a spaghetti bridge from creating it to its final destruction. We were excited to start the planning and start building the bridge. It was good to get together throughout the week and collaborate on a project. While our bridge did not end up being strong, the event was enjoyable for the team members who attended. We have learned a lot through this experience and are likely to try again next year. Liam Simmons, Year8 for Brandon Jam

I enjoyed the Spaghetti Bridge Competition as I got to use my science, mathematics and engineering skills to create a bridge. Even though my team’s bridge didn’t hold much weight, it leaves room for improvement. This experience was a good learning curve for me and my fellow teammates. I also enjoyed going to test the bridge; however, the rest of my team couldn’t be there with me. Everyone who was there was very nice and supportive. I would definitely like to do it again next year. Siaan Miller, Year 8 for Mission Impastable

The Spaghetti Bridge Competition was an enjoyable experience for me and my friends. Although my team started a bit later than the others due to complications, we made the most of our time building our bridge. When we were not building our bridge, we were scrubbing super glue off our fingers. Even though I would say scrubbing super glue off our fingers wasn’t exactly ‘fun’ I would definitely participate in this competition again. Georgie Buckett, Year 7 for Pastonauts

The Spaghetti Bridge building competition was exciting and fun. We were able to work together as a team, designing, planning and building our bridge as a group. After hours of hard work building our bridge, we brought it into school, ready for the competition. It was exciting to see our bridge tested for the weight it could hold after all our hard work to see if it paid off. Overall it was a great competition that was fun and rewarding. Stanley Cullen-Way, Year 8 for Pastafarians