Amateur Engineers Compete to Build Best Bridge

May 18, 2015

Teams of high school and middle school students gathered in South Charleston over the weekend to compete to design the best virtual bridge.

BridgeValley Community and Technical College hosted the West Virginia Design Contest at the Advanced Technology Center in South Charleston. Thirty-nine high school and middle school teams entered the competition for a chance to win nearly $7,000.  

It’s really fun to be innovative and be put on the spot to do what you can and see how well you perform under pressure and to compete against other intellectuals that enjoy designing and the whole aspect and concept of engineering and it’s really fun to be in that environment with people that like the same thing as you. - Thomas Meadows, 12th Grader, Princeton

Thomas Meadows and his partner were just two of the more than 400 middle and high school students who submitted more than two hundred fifty virtual bridge designs. From those 39 different teams competed in the state finals.

Using computer software the teams were presented with different real life scenarios, each lasting around an hour. Using the software, they were to build a virtual bridge they thought would hold up in the given scenario. The teams were charged with building the most economical bridge possible. 

The students were updated of their scoring progress throughout the time session. Each teamm had detailed instruction what they could do to build the bridge. 

Six of the high school teams from West Virginia and three middle school teams will go on to compete in the national finals in July.