Engineering Technology

The 58th Ralph Dirksen WIU Technology Exhibit

Bridge Building Competition Rules

Rules and Specifications

  1. The objective of this TEAM competition is to build a bridge made from Popsicle sticks that is the most efficient design possible and meets the specifications.
  2. Each team will need to bring the designed bridge to the competition (Teams can design the bridge in class).
  3. Materials used to build your protective device are limited to those listed below.

Competition and Judging

Each bridge will be tested and judged for maximum efficiency, and aesthetics. Efficiency will be measured by determining how much weight the bridge held until failure in relation to the weight of the bridge. The bridge will be voted on for Aesthetics. The scale will be from 1 to 5 (1 meaning not very appealing, 2 not appealing, 3 Average, 4 appealing, 5 very appealing). The points received from aesthetics will be added on to the points received from efficiency.

Example of the scoring
  • Weight Bridge held at failure = 125 lb.
  • Bridge Weight = 1.45 lb.
  • Efficiency score = failure wt. divided by bridge wt. (125/1.45) = 86.21
  • Aesthetics score = 5
  • Efficiency + Aesthetics = 86.21 + 5 = 91.27

Building Specifications

  1. A maximum of 100 standard sized (3/8” wide) popsicle sticks (no more than 100 but less is better as less sticks = less bridge weight).
  2. Any type of glue or adhesive may be used (Elmer’s glue, super glue, wood glue, etc.) No Tape!
  3. Bridge must span a length of 21” at the base.
  4. The load will be hung from the middle of the bridge using a 2” x 2” block and a metal plate to attach the weight.
  5. Bridge must horizontally make the whole 21” gap as if it were simulating a flat road across the span although this does not need to be planked.
  6. Sticks may be shaved or cut in any fashion.
  7. There are no limits as to height, shape, design, or size except that the bridge must have a minimum of 2 inch inside width as long as other specifications are met.
  8. Bridge must be wide enough to allow a 2” x 2” block to pass through the middle of it.
  9. Weight applied to the bridge will start at 25 lbs and will be added in 10 lb increments until failure.


  • Standard popsicle sticks 3/8“ wide
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Rubber cement
  • Super glue (and derivatives)
  • Yellow wood glue
  • Gorilla glue