RALEIGH- The N.C. Department of Transportation invites all North Carolina middle and high schools to participate in its 15th annual Model Bridge Building Competition. The contest is designed to give students a hands-on opportunity to apply the science, technology, engineering and math skills they learn in the classroom to a real-world scenario. The deadline for registration is Friday, Nov. 15.
“Bridge building is an interesting experience that allows us not only to learn how engineers build bridges, but it also helps us build our own bridge of friendship with people we don’t know,” said Mico Guevarra, a seventh grader at Exploris Middle School.
Exploris Middle School in Raleigh won first place in the middle school category in the final round of the competition in April. Students at the school traditionally take part in the event each year, because it is an interesting way to learn problem-solving strategies and critical-thinking skills alongside their peers.
"It's like if they were all working at an engineering company, collaborating as a team, with each individual contributing his or her own talents,” said Juliana Thomas, a sixth grade teacher at Exploris Middle School. “They solve problems to create a high quality end product, and they have fun at the same time."
The event challenges the students to design and build a model bridge. Working in teams, they brainstorm ideas, design a diagram and construct the model bridge using balsa wood and glue. A panel evaluates the entries.
Teams will first compete at the regional level on March 7, 2014, with the winners traveling to Raleigh for the state competition on April 11, 2014.
NCDOT hopes the experience will help participants develop a better understanding of the work the department’s engineers do and encourage students to consider future careers in the transportation industry. Teachers may register their teams online using the competition website. Students must be sponsored by a teacher. For more information, contact event organizer Gail Herring via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (919) 707-4442.
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