Sunday, October 10, 2010

What Can You Build With a 100 Popsicle Sticks?

You can build a bridge 12 inches long and one stick wide that will hold 3 grown men.

How do I know this? Because I built one in physics class in high school.

The project was to build a bridge 12 inches long using 100 popsicle sticks and Elmer's glue. I built several prototypes only to watch them be smashed to bits with little more than a doll standing on them. Then my dad happened to notice what I was doing. He explained that the strength of the bridge was in the support. He showed me how to stagger the sticks and to build 2 beams the length of the bridge. He then left me to do the actual work because my parents didn't believe in doing my homework for me.

I built 2 beams that were one foot long and about an inch and a half thick. I applied the Elmer's glue liberally. I barely had enough sticks going across the top to qualify as a bridge. I let it dry for 2 days.

On the day the project was due, most of the bridges of my classmates broke into smithereens with a 5 pound weight. There were a couple of bridges that actually held 100 pounds of weights. Both of those broke when one of the guys in class stood on them.

My bridge not only held 1 classmate standing on it but he was holding 2 other classmates in his arms. the bridge still held. Then they put a 20lb. weight on one of the guys arms and my bridge broke.

Clearly I was the winner!

20 years later when my niece took Mr. Burgess' Physics Class, I told her about my bridge. She asked him about it. He told her he not only remembered it but I still held the record to that day!

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