ICC’s relationship started with a bridge-breaking event led by Mooseheart’s physics teacher Curt Schlinkmann. The annual competition challenges students to see who can design the balsa wood bridge that holds the most weight before it breaks. As bridge builders, we reached out with an offer to add real-world knowledge to the learning process. Mooseheart enthusiastically accepted.
Our idea was to bring the bridgebuilding principles taught in Schlinkmann’s physics class to life with ICC construction expertise and real-life examples. Our plan was to both reinforce the physics aspect of what Mooseheart students were learning and provide a firsthand look at the process of building a real bridge, including the different roles involved in a project. We accomplished this with field trips to ICC offices and to an actual bridge construction project in progress in downstate Illinois.
We also participated in the bridge-breaking event itself, bringing ICC hardhats and safety vests for the students to add some fun and authenticity. After the competition, one of our VPs spoke to the group, explaining the points of strength and weakness contributing to each entrant’s bridge performance.