Students Test Their Engineering Skills During Spaghetti Bridge Competition at Ferris

logoBIG RAPIDS – Ferris State University is hosting the 11th annual Spaghetti Bridge Competition March 19 and 20 in the Rankin Student Center Dome Room.

The Spaghetti Bridge Competition is a yearly event sponsored by Academic Affairs and consists of four parts: an authentic bridge display, an oral presentation, a written report and a load-bearing competition. High school students throughout Michigan are eligible to compete in the multi-faceted event that asks teams of four to base their architectural design on an existing or previously built bridge.

The four-part event fosters team work, problem solving and hands-on learning connected to many standards in the Michigan Curriculum Framework, organizers said.

Using only 2 pounds of spaghetti and three lasagna noodles, each team is asked to create an accurate reproduction of the bridge to be judged in the authentic bridge evaluation. Teams also bring a written report on the history behind their bridges, including dimensions, year(s) of construction, cost, and sociological and environmental aspects of the bridge.

Next, teams will present an oral presentation about their bridge to a panel of judges, as well as an audience. Teams’ members will take turns role-playing, representing both the governmental agencies that wish to build the bridge and the construction company hired to complete the project. Bridge design, acquisition of property, traffic patterns and environmental issues all will be addressed.

Finally, teams will end the competition by constructing an on-site replica of their bridge for the load-bearing portion of the event.

Awards for individual portions of the competition range from first through fifth place with cash awards ranging from $300 to $500. Awards of four, $2,000 scholarships to Ferris for first place, four $1,000 scholarships to Ferris for second place, and four $500 scholarships to Ferris for third place are given to the overall winners.

The 2009 winning bridge in the load-bearing competition was made by The Knights of Marne from Kenowa Hills High School in Grand Rapids. The replica held 116.9 pounds – a record-breaking weight.


12 March, 2010