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Bridge-a-Roni

Division: A – Elementary

NC Essential Standards Alignment: Science as Inquiry

Event Rules: Bridge-a-roni Rules 2021

Event Score Sheet:  Bridge-a-roni Score Sheet 2021

Clarifications:  Any glue used should be non-toxic.  

Description:

This is building event. Prior to the competition, teams will design and build a pasta bridge capable of supporting a load of up to 10 kg. Specific requirements are outlined clearly in the official rules.

Materials:

Teams must bring their bridges and safety glasses.

Scoring:

High score wins. Scoring for this event is based on efficiency. The following formula will be used:

Score = Total load supported / Mass of Bridge

Load supported and mass of bridge are both measured in grams. The total load supported includes the mass of the bucket, loading block and chain, and sand, for a maximum of 10,000 g (10 kg). Even if the bridge holds more than 10,000 g (10 kg), only 10,000 g will be recorded.

Bridges that fail to meet one or more of the requirements will be ranked in a 2nd tier beneath those that do meet requirements. Bridges that cannot be tested at all will be given participation points only.

Ties will be broken in favor of the team with the lighter bridge.

Common Mistakes:

It is not the goal to build a bridge that you can walk across – efficiency wins!  Many winning bridges will break during testing, but because they are very light, their efficiency is better than the super-strong very heavy lasagna monstrosity bridges.

Recommendations:

  1. Hot glue dries/hardens quicker.
  2. Triangles are a construction engineer’s best friend.
  3. Make a full-size pattern of your bridge. Build bridge on pattern. Be exact!
  4. “Spot” glue and don’t add excessive adhesive weight.
  5. Joints should be “overlaid” not “butted”.
  6. Cut off excess pasta and glue after assembly.
  7. Use bridge design software. Search the web for other ideas and designs.
  8. Build and test A LOT. Each iteration will get better. Design, test, and refine.
  9. A blowdryer is a great way to get rid of the ‘wispies’ of glue after it is dry.

Fast Facts:

None

Event Resources:

2017 Coaches Clinic Presentation #1
2017 Coaches Clinic Presentation #2
How To Build a Pasta Bridge
Model Bridge Design
Try Engineering – Popsicle Bridge Lesson Plan
PBS NOVA – Types of Bridges game
Hooda Math – Bridge building computer games
PBS Newton’s Apple – Video on building and testing different types of bridges

Media:

None