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Students build, break bridges in annual competition Saturday

Selena Ryan, Grace Hemeon, and Olivia Taylor show off the bridges they built using only popsicle sticks and white glue.
Selena Ryan, Grace Hemeon, and Olivia Taylor show off the bridges they built using only popsicle sticks and white glue. - Juanita Mercer

Students in grades seven to nine from across Eastern Newfoundland were at the Johnson Geo Centre Saturday morning for the 27th Annual Model Bridge Competition.

About 125 students brought their bridges, made out of only popsicle sticks and white glue, to test their strength using specialized test equipment.

“I came because I wanted to see how much my bridge could hold,” said student Selena Ryan, whose grandfather helped her and watched proudly while she participated in the event. “Mine held 130 pounds.”

Each bridge is also judged by a panel of practicing civil engineers for quality of construction and application of engineering principles before it is tested to destruction.

National Engineering & Geoscience Month Chair Mike Gehue said the whole purpose of the event is to promote applied science professions to junior high students.

“It’s a great way for the professional community to give back to the younger generations that are coming up behind them,” said Gehue. “It’s also a great way to promote fields of applied science to young, keen minds, and show our future generations that there’s a lot of fun to be had in these careers.”

Sponsored by Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Newfoundland and Labrador as a part of National Engineering and Geoscience Month, the event takes place in four regions across the province: Eastern, Western, Central, and Labrador.

Once each region identifies the strongest bridges, they will then compare the results to find out which student built the strongest bridge.

Last year’s winning bridge was so well-built that the on-site test equipment could not break it. It was brought to a lab at Memorial University where it broke at a load of about 4,500 pounds.

Results from this year’s competition will be released at a later date.

juanita.mercer@thetelegram.com

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