Lincoln-Way Students Compete in Annual Bridge Building Competition
Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Every year, students at all three Lincoln-Way schools build a model bridge and test its strength in the annual Bridge Building Competition.

Students were given a kit with 15 two-foot pieces of basswood and specifications for this year’s contest. Then, using glue, they build unique concepts and test its strength by seeing how much weight it will hold before it breaks. The bridge with the highest structural efficiency wins. Efficiency is determined by dividing the mass held by the mass of the bridge.

“The beauty of this type of experience is the students really have to look at a problem and they’re free to design it anyway they want. It shows realistic situations,” said Maria Wilson, Science Department Chair at Lincoln-Way East.

The contest is open to all students, but the majority are those in physics and engineering classes.

“It addresses fundamental physics principles we discuss in class. They enjoy it. It turns into a massive competition,” said John Willis, physics teacher at Lincoln-Way West.

The top four winners from each school will go on to compete in the regional contest at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago in late January. The top two in that competition will represent the region in the international contest in April 2019.

The top four from Lincoln-Way Central were Hector Villa, Delia Dohm, Alex Culver, and Jack Benzing.

“The seniors, Hector Villa, Delia Dohm, and Jack Benzing, are all in engineering physics. However, the freshman, Alex Culver, came out of now where making a bridge just for fun and enjoyment of engineering,” said Lincoln-Way Central Science Department chair Sarah Highfill.

The top four from Lincoln-Way East were Bryce Wyma, Julian Bendy, Mark Zyskowski, and Melissa Bauer.

The top four from Lincoln-Way West were Mark Milik, James Kaiser, Jack Schedin, and Brendan Kirk.

“It is great to see the students work on projects outside of the classroom that relate to topics learned in the classroom,” said Lincoln-Way East teacher Michael Murphy. “It was obvious from their designs and results, that many students devoted a lot of hard work and time into this project. I think the most rewarding part of this project is to hear the students talk the next day about what they could do differently next year to increase the efficiency of their bridges. It seems that this project sparks the creativity of a lot of students and fosters hard work and creativity.”