Bridge building a big hit at Big Bang

Volunteers challenge pupils with bridge building and earthquake simulation table.

Students putting the final piece into the bridge before testing
Students putting the final piece into the bridge before testing

Approximately 300 students ranging from Year 6 to Year 11 visited ICE East Midlands’ stand during the full day event, where an array of challenges was on offer: our 12m cable stayed Bridge to Schools activity; an earthquake simulation table to test the stability of structures constructed from wooden blocks; a cardboard construction game to build the highest, most stable structure; a tower building activity using K’nex kits to a ‘budget’ and a computer bridge design and simulation activity.

The Bridge to Schools activity was as popular as ever with groups of up to twenty students at a time building, walking across and dismantling the bridge in booked sessions.

The competitive element to the table top challenges also proved popular with visitors and kept them engaged.

Tom Leatherland, a volunteer from JPP Consulting who was helping to run the activities said: “The earthquake simulation was very popular with children keen at trying to beat their friends. We’ve not used this activity before and it is a good way to get children to use their creative skills.”

James Kirkham from Mott MacDonald who coordinated ICE’s stand on behalf of the Regional Education Team was delighted with the response to the new activities trialled this year. “It was great to see so many young learners engaging with us and showing an interest in what we do. We also had more ambassadors than ever before interested in helping out this year which is very encouraging for future events”.

Octagon challenge
The Octagon challenge proved popular with visitors

The highest tower built out of cardboard octagons was over 2.1m, the highest K’nex tower was 2m (costing ‘£6.22M’) and the structure which took the longest time to withstand the earthquake simulating table was 70 seconds.

ICE would like to extend our thanks to volunteers from: Mott MacDonald, William Saunders LLp, Environment Agency, Galliford Try, Murphy Construction and JPP Consulting; and also to Winvic for the supply of the pedestrian barriers around the Bridge to Schools activity, in helping to make the day a successful one and helping to inspire our next generation of civil engineers.

If you’d like to volunteer to help out at a future Big Bang or help to inspire young people please contact Richard Davis who is coordinating our pre-19s activities for the East and West Midlands regions.