Towering achievement: L-C eighth-graders take on ASCE Tower Challenge
CASCO – Remember the “Field of Dreams” line, “Build it and they will come?’’
Eighth-grade student Zach Smith added with confidence, “First elect a leader’’ and then build it.
Smith was among the Luxemburg-Casco Middle School eighth-graders participating in a Tower Challenge on Feb. 23. Their “field of dreams’’ was the wood floor gymnasium in Casco.
The challenge was sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers in association with engineers from Ayres Association of Green Bay and Rice Engineering of Luxemburg. The firms taught the Technical Education students the engineering calculations desired to construct a tower made of balsa wood sticks and glue.
The idea behind the test is to assess and evaluate the strength through the design of the material.
Fifteen teams of two or three students were given the task of building a tower 30 inches tall (give or take a quarter of an inch) and not more than six inches wide on each side out of two ounces of the sticks. Weight plates were then placed on a platform to see how much the towers could hold.
Smith and his team of Bryce Ronsman and Evan Dahlke elected Ronsman to be their leader.
“We checked and rechecked our cross braces,’’ said Ronsman, who explained they applied a combination of slanted and criss-crossed braces.
“We made sure every stick was touching another stick as much as possible,’’ Smith said.
Placing one weight plate at a time on a platform, their tower held 148 pounds of weight, blowing away the competition with a ratio of 81.77 pounds per ounce, more than twice the construction requirement.
Each team was asked to submit a design a couple weeks before the challenge that met the engineers’ approval.
“Their goal,’’ said Tech Ed teacher David Gordon, “is to carry 40 pounds for each ounce of tower construction.’’ Tower weights are a mere 1.5 to 2 ounces. “The difficulty is the design of the tower.”
In return, students learn teamwork, planning, calculations, organizing, diagonals, tension and compression, engineering, creativity, design, science, linear distances and Pythagorean math.
Student Hayden Koss said he may probe the engineering field as a career. “Building buildings,’’ he said with a smile.
And he may be good at it. Koss teamed with Evan Dorner and Blake Robillard to construct a tower holding 85.5 pounds, placing their team in the top five.
To see more photos and a video from the Tower Challenge, go to www.kewauneecountystarnews.com.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Towering achievement: L-C eighth-graders take on ASCE Tower Challenge