Second Wednesday Popsicle Bridges

The first installment of Mackenzie’s 2016 Second Wednesday program brought 35 engineers, architects, and designers from our Portland and Seattle offices together for a popsicle stick bridge build competition. Teams of three to four people were formed, comprised of people from multiple design disciplines and departments throughout the offices. Each team was given two hundred popsicle sticks and a bottle of craft glue, and was tasked with building a bridge to span a 24” gap. Other design criteria included height and base dimension limitations. An hour was spent on Wednesday’s build, but teams were given until the following Friday at noon to complete their structures.

Strength Test

Scoring was done in three categories: Aesthetics, Efficiency, and Strength. Aesthetic points were given based on popular vote from those participating in the event. Efficiency points were given based on how many sticks were used in the build. Strength points were given based on how much weight each bridge supported – for this event, reams of 8.5”x11” paper were used. An overall score category was developed to indicate the top performer across the board.

The Honeycomb Crossing

From nine teams participating, several design strategies were undertaken with minimal overlap from one team to another. Quantity of sticks used ranged from 116 to 197, and quantity of reams of paper supported ranged from 3 reams (15 pounds) to 30 reams (150 pounds). Three separate teams took home individual prizes for each of the three main categories, and one team (the one to support 30 reams of paper) also performed very well in the efficiency category and ended up the overall top performer.