December 28, 2018
NEW BEDFORD — “Hold the red sauce and pass the glue. The competition for the Spaghetti Bridge Challenge at Global Learning Charter Public School (GLCPS) was stiff as an uncooked lasagna noodle.”
That was the catchy beginning to a news release from the folks at GLCPS, describing an unusual pre-Christmas break event.
“Students in grades 5 through 8 worked in teams to design and construct bridges from pasta and adhesive within certain parameters,” explained Polly Zajac, 5th grade science teacher, in the release. “Their supplies consisted of one pound of spaghetti and four ounces of wood glue per bridge-building team.”
The judging began on Dec. 18th. The quality of many of the bridges was so high that there wasn’t enough time to complete the testing. The finals were postponed until the following day, school officials said.
The students were instructed to design a bridge that can cover a 20-centimeter gap and withstand as much weight as possible.
“Before building their bridges, the students did their research,” Zajac said. “They explored different types of bridges, the various parts of a bridge, how they’re made to withstand the forces that act upon bridges, and other important details.”
After conducting their research, the students had to create orthographic drawings to use as their building template, the release said. They then built a prototype before moving on to the final product.
In the first round, the bridges were tested with 100 grams of weight on the bridge span. The surviving bridges moved to Round Two and tested with 200 grams of weight. In Round 3, the remaining bridges were tested to failure.
Each of the final bridges defied loads of 12,300 grams or 12.3 kilograms. The judges determined the winners by the bridges’ aesthetics.
As the bridge competition came to a close, 8th grade dominated the winners’ circle.
The Spaghetti Bridge Project meets the engineering and technology standards, as well as some of the math standards that students are required to learn, the release noted.
“It also encourages students to use their noodles,” the release said.
(Photos were taken on a fun theme dress-down day.)
Winners of the Spaghetti Bridge Building Project were as follows:
1st Place: Sinally Ruiz and Sean Bently, Grade 8
2nd Place: Alyssa Santos and Mia Frazier, Grade 8
3rd Place: Irma Funez and Jessica Ventura, Grade 8