Mathematics Teacher Ms Gemma Clark with the members of Team 6 and their winning bridge

The 2nd Annual BISP Spaghetti Bridge Building contest took place in the Primary Hall during periods one and two on the morning of Monday 3 November, as part of Student Development Week. Led by the Maths department, it was exclusively for Year 9 students.

“The Spaghetti Bridge Building contest is essentially a maths and engineering task, using maths in a real life context,” says Mathematics Teacher Ms Gemma Clark.

With a total of 11 teams, consisting of five or six members each, the main rules were simple: The bridge must be maximum 50cm in length; chairs must be set 30cm apart and the bridge placed over the gap between them; and students could glue no more than two strands of spaghetti or regine together to form a single piece.

Using a $50 budget, the Year 9 students bought their materials from ‘shops’ run by Head of Mathematics Mr Tim Parkes and Mathematics Teacher Graham Johnson, which sold spaghetti, penne and regine pasta, as well as sellotape, and – after coming up with a design for their bridge – used glue guns to put it together.

With the rules having changed slightly to make the contest more challenging, the students didn’t quite manage the result of last year (1.25kg, by students Daniel Pedroni, Madelynn Thacker and Peter Martin), however Team 6 still performed exceptionally well with a weight of 950g held by their bridge before it snapped.

“The students have hopefully realised that maths is not just a subject you have to learn at school, but a skill that has real-life applications,” says Ms Clark. “For example, after this they may see a bridge and realise the maths that was involved in building it.”

For more information, contact Gemma Clark: [email protected]

Maximum weight achieved:

Team 1: 400g

Team 2: 200g

Team 3: 500g

Team 4: 600g

Team 5: Disqualified

Team 6: 950g – winner

Team 7: 200g

Team 8: 200g

Team 9: 800g

Team10: 300g

Team 11: 500g