During Science Week held in August, 46 students from Years 7 to 11 entered the Spaghetti Bridge Competition, run by The Engineering Link Group (TELG), and sponsored by Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Advance Queensland, Engineers Australia and James Cook University. The competition is open to all students in Primary and Secondary, and their task is to build a bridge entirely from spaghetti and glue.
The competition requires students to apply both engineering and problem-solving skills to the task, as their bridge must be as close as possible to 300g, but must not exceed it, and it must span a gap of 35cm. 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 fourteen teams.
We estimated that it takes approximately 24 man-hours to build a spaghetti bridge and by the day of testing, ten teams had completed a bridge. We took these into TAFE Qld at South Bank where they were tested on a specially designed rig. One person from the group loaded the bridge until it eventually cracked and failed. The winning bridge supported the greatest load.
Over one hundred teams from schools across Queensland tested their bridges.
First place was awarded to a CHAC Team comprising Year 11 students, Alistair Cameron, Matthew Ford, Caelan Forsingdal and Ethan Gough, who called their team Trussworthy. Their bridge withstood a load of 52.4kg - a 35cm spaghetti structure which could support the weight of an average student!
CHAC also took out second place with Chactastic comprising Year 8 students Ben Hamilton and Kara Pizzica, taking a load of 50.2 kg. A Year 7 team, Spathetic, comprising Tom Woods, Danielle Weizman, Daniel Greenaway and Zoe Billings came first in the junior division with a load of 22.7 kg.
On today’s Assembly, Trussworthy were presented with a prize of $1000 by Mr Greg Millikan, the organiser of the event; Chactastic won $500 and Spathetic won $250. This is a remarkable achievement by CHAC students to take out three of the five prizes awarded in the competition.
I look forward to next year, when most of these students will return to improve their bridges and possibly others will take up the challenge. It is a great learning experience, and lots of fun.
Mrs Gay Ellyett
Coordinator Exceptional Scientists’ Program