Bridge Design Contest Feedback

My students LOVE [the contest software]. They get into a fierce competition between the students in each class. When they see someone get a lower cost bridge, they work really hard to try to beat the lowest score (especially if it is from a different class period). When they are first learning the program, they try really hard to crash the truck in the river. Making the truck go into the river from the higher bridges requires that they learn a lot about how the forces are transferred from member to member and how the types of steel affect the strength. When it is time to make a cheap bridge, they already know how to choose cheaper materials and adjust the strength of individual pieces. They have a good time, and learn a bit about Civil Engineering in the process.

Lowell T. Ziegler
Career and Technical Educator
West Lake Middle School

Here at Friendswood High school I use the contest in the Pre engineering curriculum, it is the highlight of the year for the students.

Each year we have students enter contest and teach them how to think about building a bridge, we learn how to think like a civil engineer as well as how to run the software. As teachers we are always looking for new ways to bring learning to students and what better way than a bit of friendly competition. The students can see just how they are doing compared to the rest of our school as well as around the nation. This contest is a great educational tool for today’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) teachers.

Terry Zimmerman
FHS Tech Ed. Dept Chair
Texas TSA Contest Director

We love using the software to instruct in CAD design classes. It is an amazingly potent tool in our academic arsenal, and we are truly excited to be finally connecting on the National level.

Jeff Greene
Technology Teacher
Calvary Christian Academy

Thanks for organizing this competition. The students really enjoy it and take away a lot from it.

Tye Pannkuk
Physics Teacher
Ronald Reagan High School

I just wanted to say thank you for putting together such an amazingly well-done contest each year. I’m a 15 year old high school student. I enter in numerous scholarship opportunities such as this one every year, and while many are fun, this is by far the most engrossing, thrilling, entertaining contest I’ve ever entered. I would say my favorite aspect of [the Bridge Designer] is the real-time feedback: posting a good bridge and seeing myself jump 10 places in the standings is enough to put me in an instant good mood. I think the software is almost too addictive. I just spent the last 4 hours of my life trying to shave $100 off of a virtual bridge. Either there’s something wrong with me or the contest is just that exciting. Probably a mix of both. Anyways, once again, keep up the good work! I hope to see this contest continue far into the future.

Jack Flintermann

I was able to use [the contest] with students from Pre-Algebra through Calculus. Students would work on it during lunch, after school, and even instead of their homework. The media specialist here had it put on all the computers in each lab as well. It was addictive for those that really got into the competition. It has been great!

Daniel Baird

On a recent visit to Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI ) they had a small Kiosk to try and build a bridge. Unfortunately, like most museums you never have enough time to play with the darn thing to learn very much. So I started a search on the Internet and found your site. Perfect. The software was just what I was looking for to get a basic idea of the engineering behind a structure such as a bridge. I have spent hours getting a feel for the thing and coming up with strategies to get to my optimal design faster. My biggest challenge is trying to get my sons (6 and 10) to take an interest beyond watching the animation of the bridge collapsing into the water. Oh well, they are fairly young.

Students are having a great time designing their bridges. Great site!! Thanks again.

Michael Diamente

Your bridge building program is a wonder!!! My highest compliments on designing it and allowing it to be used for free in the educational setting.

Rick Castetter
Science Teacher

In the last two years, the Institute of Mechanics and Computational Mechanics at the University of Hannover, Germany, arranged Bridge Design Contests using your software. My question is, if we may use it another time and offer it on our own server for the students to allow a faster download. Thank you very much for developing that great software. Students can learn a lot about engineering!

Sascha Beuermann

I would like to thank you for once again running the Bridge Contest. It is a great way for me to learn something while having fun and competing for prizes.


I would like to thank you all people for developing such a great software which is a great help and educational for us civil engineering students…

Ashish Gupta

There are very, very few avenues for children who excel outside of sports or performing arts to show their stuff, and the Bridge Design Contest and the various LEGO building contests are the only ones we have ever heard of for future engineers and architects, so the four of us are only happy to help organizations like yours promote these efforts in any way we can.

Ted Michon

I have had many years of fun showing my students at New Milford and Newton North High how to successfully build bridges using your programs. I recall installing [your software] on a small collection of donated Pentium computers and it became a huge hit. We even spent a good deal of time building cable stayed bridges, hoping to capitalize on the media hype surrounding the large cable stayed bridge in Boston for the Big Dig. Each year the program gets that much closer to the real deal… and the kids take it much more seriously than the year before…in part because it has a certain history to it.

J.T. Schemm

I am the Industrial Technology Teacher at Tefft Middle School in Streamwood, Illinois. We are using your software as a 6-day unit to teach structural engineering in our school.

Thank you very much for a great program that is easy to use and yet very challenging.

Tim Hatfield

I love your contest, your lesson plans, and what you are doing for young people.

Marjorie Morris
Technology Teacher

The purpose of this e-mail is to thank … ASCE for conducting/sponsoring the Bridge Design Contest. My son, Andrew Bradford, was a member of the “Underground” team that won the contest this year. Andrew had a lot of fun with the bridge competition over the last three years and he was excited about winning the contest this year.

Andrew will graduate 14th in his class, Friendswood High School, and attend John Brown University on partial engineering and athletic/soccer scholarships. He plans to study mechanical engineering at JBU. I was an infantry officer (1985-89). A knee injury ended my aspirations of a military career. My body left the Army, but my heart will always be in the Army. Again, thank you for all your efforts in and out of the classroom.

Raymond H. Bradford
City of Houston

I recently viewed your website and downloaded the bridge design software. I was very impressed with the usability concepts for 3-D member utilization, dynamic loading and the software design in general.

Michael F. Dolan
Product Line Manager, Itron, Inc.

I am a mathematics teacher with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and I have incorporated your Bridge Contest into my math curriculum for some four years now. I am much appreciative for this outstanding program and the professionalism demonstrated in both its design and operation. Thank you again for your outstanding contest site.

George V. Baglini

Huge thanks for keeping up the bridge contest. A student of mine named Christopher Sartin just received his appointment to the Academy. He is an amazing kid (not that the Academy accepts any less), and he wants to be an engineer. I hope you will get to know him. Mostly he’s worried about the cold weather (70 and sunny today in San Antonio). Trying to figure out piers,

Ginger McDaniel
Physics Teacher

I’m loving the 2004 competition! Your new price schemes have REALLY led to a tremendous analysis of the program. I know that I and my experienced students have already learned more in the past week than all of last year combined. (I’m almost embarrassed to admit how many hours of spare time have been devoted to bridge building.) And the kids are pouring in and out of my room before, after school, and at lunch. Every period starts with the same thing: “If we get through with our lecture and lab early, can we work on bridges?” Funny how competition drives learning.

Matt McDaniel