Popsicle Stick Bridge Activity
    View PHOTOS and VIDEOS of this year's challenge HERE
    In the previous project, Toothpick Tower, you were required to use flimsy, lightweight materials assembled in a way that would strengthen them to support a measly 16lb. live load.

    In Popsicle Stick Bridge, the engineering teams must further apply their knowledge of material strength to design and build a bridge or span between two existing abutments that are 36" apart from the innermost edge of the abutment's bearing seat.  The bridge must be constructed of only standard-issue 4.25" long popsicle sticks and Elmer's glue, and must support a mind-boggling live load of at least 500 lbs..  



    Student teams study the various bridge types, the forces that act on bridges, and bridge components (stringers, beams, ribs, cross ties and struts) and construction methods and use this information to design a bridge that meets the requirements.  The bridge must meet the following requirements:
    1. Design a bridge that is 47 inches long and 14 inches wide, spanning a 36 inch gap between abutments, using only popsicle sticks and adhesive.  
    2. Your bridge must fit into the given abutments, which measure 14” wide x 36 inches apart from the innermost edge of one bearing seat to the other.  
    3. The bearing seat width is 5½ ” and the bearing seat height is 48” on each of the two abutments.  
    4. There is an inherent cost of $1.00 per popsicle stick.  The most efficient, and cost effective, bridge that meets the requirements will be awarded the most points.  
    5. Must be designed and tested to safely and indefinitely support a minimum weight of 500lbs, with lesser strength receiving lesser points.
    6. Must be designed so that the bridge does not visibly demonstrate any signs of stress under load due to compression, tension, torsion, shear.
    7. Your structure must use the least number of stirrers possible.
    8. Points will be deducted for structures that do not support the load, as well as those that exhibit visible signs of stress under load.

    Students will work in teams to solve the problem. Close collaboration of teams is essential to ensure a working final product. 

    Your team is likely to encounter many unknown challenges in the process of developing your solution. While your team may initially use only glue and stirrers to solve the challenge, other materials may be considered and approved by Mr. Roth as needed.