Orange County Branch Newsletter

June 2021

ASCE OC K-12 Outreach Committee

Virtual Popsicle Stick Bridge Competition

By Memo Medina | K-12 Co-Chair

This year, ASCE Orange County hosted the 27th annual Popsicle Stick Bridge Competition that took place on Saturday, May 1, 2021. The event was held virtually via YouTube live stream, as large social gatherings were still under restriction in our county. Registration for participants opened December 2020 and had a total of 30 teams that registered for the event tallying to over 100 individual participants and advisors. Similar to previous years, students were tasked to build a scaled down bridge with popsicle sticks and all purpose wood glue that would be loaded until bridge failure. Bridges are all ranked using the same calculation, load sustained divided by weight of the bridge results in an efficiency rating. Bridge strength and efficiency is one of several categories that go into the overall score and placement for our participants. Students are responsible for (1) writing a technical report, (2) creating a powerpoint presentation and pre-recorded video presentation of their PPT slides, (3) bridge workmanship and aesthetics and (4) bridge efficiency, as previously stated.

Our participants this year came from several high schools throughout LA County and Orange County; including, Arleta HS, City Honors International Preparatory School, Downey HS, Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet HS, Mission Viejo HS, San Clemente HS, and Sonora HS. In order to have an efficient day of live stream, ASCE OC and LA PSBC Co-Chairs worked on inputting all bridge data and reports into the master excel score sheets prior to the event so that the main event only had the snapping of the bridges. Overall, the event was successful with a total of $1775 awarded in scholarship prizes to the teams that placed top 3 overall, top 3 in presentations, top 3 in reports, top 3 in PPT slides, and highest in aesthetics and bridge strength. We had winners from 5 different schools with a tally of 30 individual students that won prizes. The live stream was recorded and uploaded to YouTube for any and all to watch at their convenience:

Photo 1: PSBC Co-Chairs

Photo 2: Bridges arriving at UCI

About the Author

Memo Medina is a Civil Engineer at LPA, Inc. He is a rockstar when it comes to teaching students and is one cool cat.


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