Caption: Students wait nervously to see if spaghetti structure can hold the weight
Eggs and pasta were the main ingredients at a recent engineering competition.
On a weekend in late March, two teams of prospective engineers from Walter Gretzky Elementary School gathered to compete in the Pasta Structure Challenge, hosted by the Brantford Chapter of the Professional Engineers of Ontario. A team consisting of students from Mrs. Poulin’s Grade 1 class, along with a team from Mrs. Hirst’s Grade 4/5 class, spent the week designing, testing, and revising structures made of spaghetti with the goal of supporting as many eggs as possible. The structures also had to be as light as possible, with 80 per cent of the score coming from the mass of the work.
This was a fantastic activity for students, who were able to learn about the engineering design process, and put both math and science concepts into action. When asked about their experiences, the Grade 1 team of Logan P., Logan J. and Will said they, “learned that triangles are stronger than squares.” The older team, consisting of Avery, Raveena and Riley, were also enthusiastic about their experiences. The girls said they learned, “it takes time, patience, and effort, and we had to learn from our mistakes.” Avery also discussed how easily they all got hooked on engineering, and that they were eager to keep improving their work after they came up with new ideas.
The students and their teachers had a great day, and eagerly look forward to future challenges. All of them loved trying out their ideas and working as a team.
That being said, when asked what the best part of the day was, the Grade 1 team answered honestly: “At the end, we got to stomp on our work.”