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BREAKING BRIDGES

Janine Marnien

LA CRESCENTA -- One by one, bridges made of Popsicle sticks were

reduced to splinters Tuesday as students at Clark Magnet High tested

their creations for the 2002 Los Angeles County Bridge Building Contest.

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Students in Jerry Gruss’ AP physics class loaded their bridges on a

platform and hung buckets from them, adding weights to the buckets until

the bridges broke.

Senior Jennifer Lee was surprised when her bridge held 20 pounds, the

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most weight for her class period.

“I only expected it to hold 10 pounds,” she said. Lee spent a week

researching how to build her bridge, and six hours building it.

The contest was voluntary for students, and was meant to emphasize the

school’s focus on mathematics, science and engineering, Principal Doug

Dall said.

“It’s a little piece of the big picture,” he said.

Bridges had to meet length and height requirements, and Popsicle

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sticks could not be painted or coated for reinforced strength. Materials

were provided to all participating students by Clark Magnet High School.

Participants had about three weeks to complete their bridges.

Normally the winners would advance to a regional competition, but

because Clark Magnet High is the only school in the county participating

in the contest, the school’s two top bridge builders will advance to the

2002 International Bridge Building Contest in May.

Bridges were judged not only by the amount of weight they held, but by

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the amount of weight they held in proportion to their size.

Winners will be announced after those calculations are completed.


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