St. John–Emmanuel tops in bridge contest

February 18, 2013

From left to right, St. John–Emmanuel’s Connor Ray, Emmett Niemeyer, and Cal Springer took first, second, and third, respectively, in the 14th Annual Middle School Bridge Design Competition at Science Central on February 16.

Nine middle school students from St. John–Emmanuel Lutheran School participated in the 14th Middle School Bridge Design Competition at Science Central on February 16. This annual competition is part of the National Engineer’s Week celebration.

St. John–Emmanuel science teacher Sue Sipes challenged her students to reach beyond the normal curriculum by participating. The object of the competition was to “design the lightest possible ‘bridge’ to span a 24-inch gap with minimal deflection.” The only materials allowed were wooden popsicle sticks (200 or fewer) and Elmer’s yellow wood glue.

Eleven bridge designs were tested. St. John-Emmanuel students took the top five honors. Connor Ray finished first, Emmett Niemeyer took second, and Cal Springer earned third prize. Taking fourth place was a bridge built by Tori Richman and Alexis Miller. In fifth place was a design by Caroline Love and Libby Hetler. Also participating from St. John–Emmanuel Lutheran School were Travis Chrisman and Quin Schoof.

A total of seven bridge designs from St. John–Emmanuel Lutheran students were tested on the special IPFW bridge-testing machine. This was only the fourth year St. John-Emmanuel students participated in the event. In the 2008 competition, six students from St. John-Emmanuel submitted four bridge designs; in 2009, 11 students from SJE submitted eight bridge designs, gaining the “Top Scoring School” award; and in 2012, seven students from St. John–Emmanuel competed with four bridge designs.

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