Pleasant Hills Middle School Sixth Graders Build Record-Breaking Toothpick Bridges in Applied Engineering Technology Class

West Jefferson Hills School District  |  Posted on

Several sixth-grade grades students at PHMS shattered long-standing records in their Applied Engineering Technology classes with their Toothpick Bridge-Building Projects. Students had to design and create a structurally-sound bridge that could support as much weight as possible using only toothpicks and hot glue. Students were taught basic engineering and design principles while researching various types of bridges. After completing their research, the groups could move on and design their bridge utilizing the West Point Bridge software program that allows students to design and test bridges prior to construction. From there, students created a full-scale drawing and began the construction process with toothpicks and hot glue. The entire engineering design process was checked several times to ensure all parameters were correct and each bridge met specific parameters to size and location of the feet. The previous bridge record held was 63.58 lbs, and in just two days of testing there were two groups that broke that record. The first group, Katie Sukal, Joyce Xu and Celina McElhinny, broke the record with a toothpick bridge that weighed in at 7.825 ounces and held an impressive 74 pounds before the foot of the bridge failed and collapsed. The very next day in that same class, another group of young ladies, Lilly Safran, Nicole Narr, Megan Beisler, and Abby Ondo, broke the first group’s record with their bridge holding an outstanding 96 pounds before the road bed collapsed.