Clarkson University recently sponsored a toothpick bridge competition for students in its afterschool STEM programs. Creak, snap, and crunch were the sounds that could be heard as the toothpick bridges were tested to determine which bridge could hold the greatest load. The winning bridge, designed and built by Ty Monette from Norwood-Norfolk Central School, held 11 lbs. Second place went to the team of Olivia Richards and Nikki Thompson from St. Lawrence Central School. Their bridge held 10 lbs., 11oz.
Forty students designed and built 25 bridges using a maximum of 100 toothpicks and wood glue. They learned civil engineering concepts such as tension, stress and load. Students represented four school districts: Heuvelton, Lisbon, Norwood-Norfolk and St. Lawrence Central. The strongest bridges from each school were designed by: Mairin King and Zoe Whalen (Heuvelton), Bryce Parmeter and Quinton Zanker (Lisbon), Eric Lalonde (Norwood-Norfolk) and Jordan Barlow and Adrianna Richards (St. Lawrence Central).
Funding for the afterschool program is provided by a NYSED Extended Day/Violence Prevention Grant awarded to St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES and the federal CARES initiative. Clarkson University’s Institute for STEM Education provides STEM activities through a partnership with the public schools. For more information, contact Dr. Mary Margaret Small email@example.com.