Education: Garden Lakes Elementary sweeps Fourth Annual Popsicle Stick Bridge Challenge.

Education: Garden Lakes Elementary sweeps Fourth Annual Popsicle Stick Bridge Challenge.

Pictured: All winning teams from Garden Lakes Elementary (on top) and Best Looking Bridge winners from Pepperell Elementary School (below).

Media release: The Floyd County Schools Instructional Technology Department held the Fourth Annual Popsicle Stick Bridge Challenge on Thursday morning at Armuchee Elementary School. FCS math specialist Jennifer White emceed the event to keep it lively for all observers both in the gym and those watching the live stream from their classrooms.

As reigning champions of the third annual event, AES played host to 11 teams of aspiring engineers currently in third, fourth, and fifth grades who qualified for the district challenge after winning at the school level. The six elementary schools that participated were Alto Park Elementary, AES, Cave Spring Elementary, Garden Lakes Elementary, Model Elementary and Pepperell Elementary. 

“This was our fourth year at GLES to participate in the popsicle Bridge Challenge. It provided our students an opportunity to think creatively, problem solve and work as a team. This challenge provoked excitement throughout our school and was a rewarding experience,” said Garden Lakes Principal Mary Alcorn.

A popsicle stick bridge challenge starts with students designing and building a bridge out of only 400 popsicle sticks and basic white school glue that can span a 20-inch gap with a roadway the width of a popsicle stick. The design strength is then put to the test when it is placed with the ends on two tabletops 20 inches apart with a five-gallon bucket chained in the middle of the bridge to add weight. The bridge that holds the most weight wins the challenge.

“STEM challenges like this one are a great way for our students to learn and exercise their problem-solving skills. As they incorporate the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math behind the project, they begin to see how everything they are learning in the classroom can be applied to real-world situations,” said event organizer and Floyd County Schools Instructional Technology Specialist Nathan Medley.

GLES swept the competition at all grade levels. As the sole participants, GLES students Will Thomas, Xander Taylor, Victor Vicente and Rylen Byrd won the third-grade competition. GLES fourth-graders Kevin Weaver, Ansley Reece, Riley Hester, Austin Reece, and Katelynn Shaffer exceeded their competition by 40 and 60 lbs with a total weight of 95 pounds.

GLES fifth-graders Hilda Vicente, Justice Weatherington and Cheyenne Osburn were crowned 2020 Grand Champions with a bridge holding 100 pounds, withstanding more weight than the other six teams in their grade level by an average of 50 pounds. When Mrs. White interviewed the winning team about their bridge design, they said they used all of their popsicle sticks, but one fell off prior to the competition starting. They made sure to slightly stagger their popsicle stick layers and let the glue dry before adding more layers.

Pepperell Elementary’s team Aidan Watson, Aaron Bowers, Avary Head, and Jalynn Black won the student choice award for Best Looking Bridge.

Former Model Elementary student Silas Bryson remains the current record holder for a popsicle stick bridge holding a whopping 160 pounds.

The Fifth Annual Popsicle Stick Bridge Challenge will take place next year at Garden Lakes Elementary School.

See more photos from the Fourth Annual Popsicle Stick Bridge Challenge by clicking here.

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