The Juvenile Court and Community Schools program (JCCS) recently held the first annual Bridge Building & Demolishing Competition at the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE). More than 80 students from nine JCCS high schools built unique models of bridges made from toothpicks and glue. The competition based on mathematical skills was judged on aesthetics, design plans and strength test.
SDCOE Secondary Math Specialist, Cathy Williams trained 17 JCCS teachers on building toothpick bridges. The JCCS math committee created a month-long, cross-curricular academic unit, which included mathematics, journal writing, poetry, field trips, and bridge history.
The culminating event, testing the bridges for strength, was "a wonderful opportunity for the students to show off all of their hard work with their fellow JCCS students and teachers," said Theresa Fox, JCCS Math Coordinator.
Students cheered and applauded when bridges sustained and collapsed due to the amount of weight. Several bridges held more than 60 pounds, with the winning bridge from East County holding a total of 110 pounds. College Grove Community School won first place for design plans and Rancho Del Campo School received first place for aesthetics plans.
Joel Garcia, Math Teacher of the Academy of Toussaint Arts & Sciences, said, "This is a great competition for the students to get involved in. The competitive aspect of it challenges students to use what they learned in the classroom such as geometrical shapes."
Strict procedures were used to judge the bridges and amount of weight each could hold. A bucket and dowel system with weights placed in the bucket in one, two or five-pound increments was used to test the strength of the bridges. The JCCS Math Committee judged the competition and the JCCS Association of Educators sponsored all prizes.
A total of 36 entries were submitted by the following schools: Rancho del Campo High School, Sarah Anthony High School, National City Community School, University Community School, Lindsay Community School, Toussaint Academy, Lakeside Community School, East County and College Grove Community School.