Local Students Building Bridges

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Local middle school students spent the day outside the classroom for a lesson in civil engineering.

They had the tough challenge of building a miniature bridge out of popsicle sticks and glue at the Junior Engineering Expo at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Students are not only judged on the design, but on how much weight their bridge can hold.

The true test comes as members of different teams gradually add gravel into a wastebasket that hangs from the bridge.

Smiles turn into concerned looks as bridges bend and in some cases, snap in half.

"Holy smokes!", one student said.

That's a common reaction in this competition by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

"We hope to encourage middle school students to maybe enter the field of engineering or some other technical field," said event organizer, Jon Young.

20 teams from 14 schools entered this year.

"We were amazed! I looked at the scoreboard and wanted to beat 79 and on scale, it said 180!" said student Michaela Yoshida.

Some were more successful than others.

"When you look at that bridge, you never anticipated it would hold that much weight," said Young pointing to the first place winners' creation.

"I think engineering would be fun I like building stuff," said student, Daisha Paulino.

Saint Andrews Priory came in first place and set a new record.

Their team built a bridge that was strong enough to hold 469 pounds.