Since 2000, the N.C. Department of Transportation – in partnership with Carolinas Associated General Contractors and the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina – has hosted the statewide Model Bridge Building Competition to encourage students to develop math and science skills that are used in transportation, construction and engineering careers as well as the work NCDOT does.

Working in teams, students look at the methods of brainstorming and researching ideas as well as designing and building a model truss bridge. Students present their model bridges to a panel of judges and are scored based on a written report, oral presentation, a design drawing and the model's structural efficiency.


Student objectives include:

  • Encouraging active involvement in constructing and applying mathematical ideas
  • Stimulating effective questioning techniques that promote interaction
  • Providing a tool for visualizing structural behavior
  • Expanding problem-solving skills
  • Learning to work as a team
  • Applying research and presentation skills
  • Demonstrating practical application of math and science skills
  • Enhancing oral and written communication skills
  • Allowing non-technical students a chance to gain a greater appreciation for technical fields

Participation

The Model Bridge Building Competition is open to middle and high school students in North Carolina. Registration begins each fall, and regional and final competitions are in early spring.

Teachers can use the competition as a classroom project, select students within their schools to work on the project as a team or have several student teams compete in a school-wide competition with the winning team represent the school at the regional competition. NCDOT accepts only one model bridge entry per school.

Why Participate?

During the competition, students will:

mbbc2 Thales Academy Middle School
  • Expand their vocabulary of geometry, bridges and construction
  • Apply bridge vocabulary in a paper on the history and reasoning of bridge construction
  • Practice design interpretation by building a model bridge that meets NCDOT criteria
  • Inspect their model bridge through logical reasoning to determine if it meets the criteria
  • Test their model bridge to determine if it meets the criteria
  • Develop marketing and presentation skills for selling their bridge design to the public
  • Give a presentation to the competition judges
  • Work collaboratively with their team

2017 Competition Winners

Clarkton School of Discovery
Clarkton School of Discovery
Polk County Early College High School
Polk County Early College High School

Final Competitions

First Place:

  • Middle School – Clarkton School of Discovery, Clarkton
  • High School – Polk County Early College High School, Columbus

Second Place

  • Middle School – North Carolina Mathematics and Science Education Network Pre-College Program, Raleigh
  • High School – Franklin Academy High School, Wake Forest

Third Place

  • Middle School – Polk County Middle School, Mill Spring
  • High School – North Moore High School, Robbins                  

Fourth Place

  • Middle School – Elise Middle School, Robbins
  • High School – Camden Early College High School, Camden

Regional Winners

All regional competitors receive recognition for competing. One middle and high school team from each region advance to the State Final Competition. Each school is judged in four categories, including written report, oral presentation, design drawing and model efficiency.

Region One (Kinston)

  • Middle School – Clarkton School of Discovery, Clarkton
  • High School – Camden Early College, Camden

Region Two (Raleigh)

  • Middle School – North Carolina Mathematics and Science Education Network Pre-College Program, Raleigh
  • High School – Franklin Academy High School, Wake Forest

Region Three (Asheboro)

  • Middle School – Elise Middle School, Robbins
  • High School – North Moore High School, Robbins

Region Four (Morganton)

  • Middle School – Polk County Middle School, Mill Spring
  • High School – Polk County Early College, Columbus

Cash prizes to competing schools are provided by the Carolinas Associated General Contractors.