In May as part of the Michigan Department of Transportation TRAC (Transportation and Civil Engineering) Program, two NHS teams of students were selected to compete in the 10th Michigan Annual Design and Build Bridge Challenge.
To qualify for the competition, these students researched the structures and various suspension bridges, applied their research using the CAD software package used by MDOT civil engineers to create an original bridge design. Students submitted reports on their design and the scientific principles utilized in their design in mid-February.
Students later constructed their designs using balsa wood and kite string. Then took their constructed bridges to the state competition in Grand Rapids on May 1 for load testing. Also, as part of the competition, students presented on the process of designing and creating the bridge and defend the design decisions they made to a panel of judges.
All material for the project, including the CAD software package ($2300 value) were provided by MDOT. As was the training Mr. Adam Draa, HS Teacher/ Advisor attended a few years ago that gave him access to the bridge building competition and a variety of classroom materials.
It was a great experience for our NHS students to use their skills in math and science to explore interests in civil engineering and transportation jobs.
See more about this program in the informational pamphlet here.