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Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA)


Project of the Month

Each Month a MESA Day Competition will be showcased.  We will highlight the rules, Tips and activities to prepare you for competition.

Stick Together (Middle School) and Civil Structure (High School)

Stick Together - Middle School - Design and Construct a model bridge that will carry a maximum load while using as few craftsticks as possible

  • For Prelims: 3 - 6th Grade teams and 3 - 7th/8th Grade grade teams (Per School)
  • For Regionals: 3 Teams per center - (1st place 6th grade team from Prelims, 1st place 7th/8th grade team from Prelims and third team is the next highest score from prelims)
  • Materials Allowed:
    • Only solid untreated natural wood craftsticks (Maximum of 200 sticks)
    • Only water soluble ELMER'S TYPE white glue
    • If you USE any other materials you will be DISQUALIFIED
  • Rules:
    • For complete rules please see Competition Rules.
    • Please note the rules that most students get disqualified from.
      • Maximum of 50% gluing.  You can not glue a craftstick more than 50%.Please note picture below. The craftsticks that are glued on the top can not have any other craftsticks glued on top of them because it will exceed the 50% rule gluing rule. 

50% gluing

    • Also looking at the picture above the sticks that are cut are considered as one structural member.  Keep in mind you are only allowed to use 200 sticks (including partial sticks).
    • To much glue.  Many students get disqualified for having to much glue on structure. One way to avoid this is to sand off the glue (but keep in mind too sanding makes the stick weaker).  Below is a picture of to much glue and no glue.



    • You must label structure, it must have team members' names, school, grade, and MESA Center.  IMPROPER LABELING WILL RECEIVE A 10% PENALTY.
  • Tips to Remember:
    • Glue needs to settle and dry, DO NOT build your bridge the night before competition. Building your bridge at least one or two weeks in advance so you may give glue time to settle.
    • When if comes to measurements DO NOT build to the maximum amount length allowed. Many structures have been disqualified for going over 1/10 of a cm. Please remember that with moisture your structure can expand. Also we are not using the same measurement devices that you use at your school or home. 
    • Make sure there are no pencil, marker or pen marks. The only writing or marking allowed is the labeling.  If you see any marks sand them off, if they are left on your structure they can be considered coating.
  • Activities to prepare you:
    • Visit the MESA OnlineU for more information about bridges
    • Straw Bridge:
      • 20 straws, scotch tape, scissors
      • Build a bridge using the straws to understand tensions and compression. See what design structures work better and hold more weight.
    • Research bridge designs
      • Look at different bridges and compare their design and ask yourself "Why were they built like that?"
      • How does different truss designs effect the bridge.
      • For you objective which bridge design would be the most effective.


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