A final competition in the Bridge Construction Challenge sponsored by the Lambton Chapter of the Professional Engineers of Ontario saw the Bright’s Grove Scout Troop winning its division, while two schools, one in Chatham, the other in Thamesville, took top honours.
Saturday’s competition, which took place at Lambton Mall, was the culmination of four months of classroom work guided by volunteers. Some 1,000 students were involved along with 17 volunteers who invested some 500 hours with the students.
A team from St. Vincent Catholic School in Chatham won in the Intermediate (Grade 7/8) division, with a Grade 5/6 team from Good Shepherd in Thamesville winning in the Junior division.
Teams subjected their projects to the pressure of a specially designed pneumatic machine that “stress tested” the designs.
Students had been asked to build the strongest bridge they could, using the least materials—a “real world” engineering challenge—when designing their bridges, said Phil Lasek, a senior electrical engineer at Shell Canada and chair of the local chapter of PEO.
“This is a fun and practical way to learn concepts within the Ontario Science and Technology curriculum,” added Lasek. “It also creates an awareness of the opportunities and challenges available in a technical education and career.”
Wendy Hooghiem, who works as a Science Partnership Technician in the Science Education Partnership, said the activity “fits with the students’ ‘Understanding Structures and Mechanisms’ strand of the Ontario Science and Technology curriculum where students learn about making strong, functional structures and identify the forces acting on and within structures.”