AP Physics Bridges Gap to Year’s End

Matt Klein, Staff Writer

As a post-AP test reward, AP Physics students are competing against one another to build the strongest wooden bridge.

The project is fairly simple, according to science teacher Betty Watson. “It’s a project to build the strongest bridge that can hold the most weight,” she said. After students spend about a week constructing bridges made purely out of balsa wood and glue, the bridges are put to the test. On competition day, weights are added gradually to each bridge until they collapse. The last bridge standing is declared the winner.

“The project is really fun and it’s really relaxing after a tough AP test,” senior Thomas Joyce stated. “It’s a relaxing way to finish off the year.”

Every year, the competition features many creative  designs. While some students aim to create fun designs with their bridges, others engineer theirs much more carefully, building strong bases that should withstand a good amount of weight. “I think my bridge will be the best because I put a lot of time into it and thought a lot about the design before constructing my bridge,” said junior Cameron Sun. “There are a lot of good bridges out there though, so the competition will be fierce,” he added.

After years of observing the competition, Watson has discovered what she thinks is the key to constructing a competition winning bridge.  “A good bridge is light but strong,” she claimed.

Another formula to find the winning bridge is dividing the amount of weight the bridge can hold by the bridges weight itself.

Students are judged not only on the effectiveness of their bridge, but also on its creativity. The winner of the bridge project will receive extra credit in the class.