At the annual engineering competition at Wallenpaupack High School, students were challenged with building a structure out of simple materials, that was able to transport a weighted model car across the span of two points on the wooden foundation students were given. The structure created by the students also had to move in some way to allow a 9″ obstacle to pass underneath.
The Western Wayne Team A decided to make their bridge unique and not use the optional pier support in the middle of the bridge. The team’s ideology behind this was that it would help make their bridge stand out. Their philosophy worked, the bridge was the only one in the competition that did not use a pier at all.
With all of the great minds working together, they came up with a design plan for a drawbridge that would lift upward to allow the car to pass under it. Since the team was only provided a limited selection of materials, they had to be creative with their design choices. They made this hinge out of cut up pieces of straw and a piece of spaghetti that passed through the straw allowing it to pivot.
The team’s design for the other half of the bridge held stationary. They used a technique of braiding paper towels to create a cable-like suspension for the static portion. By giving their bridge these attributes, the team achieved the innovation award at the competition.
The Western Wayne Team A consisted of Jacob McCormick, Landon Firmstone, Collin Murray, Matt Rosengrant, and Max Phillips.
Max discussed his experience at the competition.
“We used the first 20 to 30 minutes to brainstorm how we could make a bridge with the given materials. We first thought of a draw bridge, but we thought it would be too complex. So, we decided to try to make a half drawbridge, half suspension bridge,” Max explained. “I personally learned how to work as a team better and to find different ways to use unique materials.”
Max’s teammate Matt also enjoyed his experience at the competition and thought he benefited from it.
“At the annual Wallenpaupack engineering competition, my team and I were faced with an engineering problem. The problem was that we had to create a bridge which lifted up on one side in order for a car to pass under it. We ended up winning the innovation award. I believe this was mainly due to the paper-towel rope we made for the suspension part of the bridge as well as the pasta noodle and drinking straw hinge we made for the drawbridge section of the bridge,” Matt explained. “Overall, this competition challenged my mind a lot and was very enjoyable. I would definitely recommend anyone interested to attend.”
From left member of the Western Wayne Team A: Max Phillips, Collin Murray, Matt Rosengrant, Landon Firmstone, and Jacob McCormick.