On the morning of Wednesday, May 1, Delmarva Christian High School Physical Science teacher Mrs. Tiffany Haley and her 9th-grade Physical Science students traveled to Woodside, Delaware, to participate in DelDOT’s Second Annual Delaware Bridge Design Competition. Later in the afternoon, they returned with both second- and third-place awards; the largest number of awards for any one school competing.

“I am happy that they placed,” said Mrs. Haley, “but even more importantly, I am pleased that they learned something whether that was a professional skill or a scientific one.”

The aim of DelDOT’s hands-on design competition is to engage students in the areas of math, science, technology, and engineering by addressing a real-world problem. This year’s objective was for students to design and build balsa wood tied-arch (Bowstring) bridges that used the least amount of materials and yet would support a desired load. In addition to designing and building bridges, students were also required to create and submit a report portfolio. The report portfolio had to communicate the students’ analysis and design process as well as provide a CAD-generated drawing of their design. Finally on competition day, with the bridge and portfolio completed and on display, a member of each team had to give an oral presentation on their team’s bridge while judges checked for competition rule compliance. Bridges were also weighed and tested for strength.

“The competition is open to student teams across Delaware,” continued Mrs. Haley. “DCHS participated in the 9th- through 10th-grade level segment although only our 9th graders—who are currently studying physic concepts in their Physical Science classes—competed.”

Delmarva Christian was represented well with 40 freshmen students, comprising a total of 12 teams, entering the competition. In addition to receiving trophies for their winning entries, the two winning three-member DCHS teams received monetary awards totally $1350 that will be distributed to the student team members.