Imagine connecting together some toothpicks with wood glue and making it strong enough to support the weight of a sixth-grader. Well, that is essentially what happened at the Lucerne Valley Elementary School’s annual 6th Grade Bridge Building Competition on Thursday morning.
“The total amount of weight was 78 pounds,” said 6th-grade teacher Mrs. Leah Paddack, “using only toothpicks and wood glue!”
The winning team, Bridge Co., consisted of talented students Kaylene Stout, Danika Mackay, Samantha Whitehall, Taylor Paddack and Javien Ruis.
Mrs. Paddack, who has organized the event for the past several years, says the fun — and often very exciting — competitive project teaches students basic engineering principals. All of the students were required to build a bridge with supports high enough to incorporate a boat underneath to pass over the water, and trusses wide enough for a truck to drive through.
“They built their bridge from lessons based of tension and compression, and how the triangle is the perfect shape to incorporate the physics of the push and pull on gravity according to weight bearing components,” she said.
The winners of the 2021 6th Grade Bridge Building Competition, from left to right, Kaylene Stout, Danika Mackay, Samantha Whitehall, Taylor Paddack, Javien Ruis. Photo courtesy Mrs. Leah Paddack