IGDVS Popsicle Stick Bridge Competition

Written by Hannah Cheng, Selene Luong (Class of 2027) and the DVGS Editorial Team
Photos and film by Erica Lai (Class of 2024) and Amy Liu (Class of 2023)

On November 18, IGDVS gathered with excitement for the first school-wide STEAM project (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics), the Popsicle Stick Bridge Competition. Students ranging from 2nd to 12th grade participated in designing their own bridges, building them with popsicle sticks, and weighing the bridges to test their efficiency. 

Weeks before the competition, the students began preparing their bridges. In small groups, students documented their process of bridge building, including making design blueprints, building a tiny toothpick model, and discovering the best way to arrange their popsicle sticks for maximum efficiency.  

Last touches were made to the bridges on the morning of the competition. As teams began presenting their bridges, the picnic tables were not only covered with bridges of all styles, but also delicious snacks for everyone to share: bags of crackers, chips, cups of juice, and trays of delicious apple pie.

With everything set up, the competition began. The judges measured the dimensions and weights of the bridges to make sure they adhered to the guidelines. Then came the part everyone anticipated: testing the maximum weight the bridges could sustain. To do this, each bridge was placed between two tables, with a bucket hooked on to hold weights and textbooks.

As each bridge took its turn being weighed, many broke, but a few of them were so strong that they remained intact while holding up to twenty textbooks!

In the 7-12 grade category, three groups moved on to the finals:

  • Utpala Stanton and Sage Nguyen (Class of 2028)
  • Hannah Cheng, Josette Hanneken, and Selene Luong (Class of 2027)
  • Emily Tan, Isabella Akin-Paz, Lita Li, and Zoe Hui (Class of 2026)

Several of the elementary students’ bridges also passed the tests and moved on to the final round.

7-12 Grade Final Round

On November 28th, students and teachers alike gathered in the school library, eager to watch the final round of testing that would determine the winners of the competition. The thin textbooks of the first round were swapped out for thick, hardcover textbooks, which were added one by one into the bucket.

Everyone held their breath as each bridge was tested, cheering as the bridges sustained ever-increasing weight. Two of the three final bridges broke under the weight of five hardcover textbooks, but one bridge survived, even as the bucket was filled to the brim. Determined to continue the test until the bridge’s breaking point, the students added another bag, which was again filled with textbooks.

Snap! The final bridge reached its limit, having withstood the weight of over a dozen hardcover textbooks. Everyone was in awe at this feat of engineering, and while the testing had concluded, they anticipated the announcement of the winners after the judges calculated each bridge’s efficiency.

On December 14, amid cheerful applause, the judges announced the winners of the 7-12 grade category for the Popsicle Stick Bridge Competition.

First place: Hannah Cheng, Josette Hanneken, and Selene Luong (Class of 2027)
Tied for second place: Utpala Stanton and Sage Nguyen (Class of 2028)
Emily Tan, Isabella Akin-Paz, Lita Li, and Zoe Hui (Class of 2026)
Third place: Estelle Ooh (Class of 2028), Anya Francis, and Cynthia So (Class of 2027)

Participation Awards:

  • Ella Ng and Wren Samana (Class of 2028)
  • Anna and Alysha Seng (Class of 2028)
  • Ashley Dong and Katrina Hu (Class of 2025)
  • Celina Li (Class of 2025) and Hailey Tran (Class of 2024)

2-6 Grade Final Results

6th Grade
Champion:  Aarya Desai & Xinwen Zhang 
Persistence:  Cecilia Akin-Paz & Sophia Heimberg 
Patience:  Shriya Bhula 
Leadership:  Victoria Yu 

5th Grade
Medalist:  Sherry Wu & Celeste Zhou 
Participant:  Cameron Foo & Yasoda Govinda 

4th Grade
Perseverance:  Stella Andrews & Bayelle Blanc
Medalist or Triumph:  Lumi Canevari & Sydney Charpentier 
Fearlessness:  Iris Heimberg 
Beneficence:  Zacari Obenyah

2nd/3rd Grade: 
Triumph:  Raiza Blanc / Bella Foo / Olivia Perry-Figueroa
Medalist:  Ishani Jivan / Day Loucks / Linda Shi
Participant:  Alexander Hansard / Edison Kravitz / Leon Ma

Special thanks to our math and science teachers Ms. Ashley, Ms. Wang, Dr. Yu, and Ms. Diana for putting together this opportunity to explore STEM!