Provincial Engineering & Geoscience Week


A Salute to Professional Engineers & Geoscientists

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2 WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2020 MARCH 1–7, 2020 PROVINCIAL ENGINEERING & GEOSCIENCE WEEK SPECIAL SECTION Leading with Science ® Tetra Tech's innovative, sustainable solutions help our clients reach their goals for water, environment, infrastructure, resource management, energy, and international development projects. We are proud to be home to leading technical experts in every sector and to use that expertise throughout the project life cycle. Our commitment to safety is ingrained in our culture and at the forefront of every project. Provincial_Engineering_narrowindd.indd 1 2/3/2020 9:34:04 AM By Neil Coligan Imagine you're a young student building a structure for a competition only to see it destroyed. N ow imagine it is a model of a bridge made of spaghetti and held together with glue. You don't mind if it's destroyed so long as it can resist the most weight — unlike hundreds of other similar pasta bridges built by students like yourself. That sums up the Spaghetti Bridge Building competition, now a quarter of a century old and one of the most popular events of the annual Provincial Engineering and Geoscience Week which runs this year March 1-8 in Winnipeg, part of National Engineering Week and is presented by Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba. The provincial professional organization provides the volunteers and experts to guide activities throughout the event. Volunteer committee chair Tristen Gitzel, P.Eng. says the goal is to build interest and excitement in students from Kindergarten to end of high school to consider engineering as a career. Since 1995, the Spaghetti Bridge Competition has attracted thousands of students across the city to put their engineering skills to the test. Gitzel says the rules are simple, "You work with a package of spaghetti along with some white or wood glue." You also need some instruments for measurement, such as a ruler and a scale. The pasta bridge must span 300 millimetres (which is longer than a single strand of spaghetti). It also must weigh less than 350 grams. It is then tested until it breaks. Gitzel says the record for the strongest spaghetti bridge is one that supported about five hundred pounds. "It sounds easy — anyone can draw a triangle on a piece of paper," he says, "but I can tell you from experience that it is difficult to manufacture properly." The builders of the strongest bridge in each grade level win a cash prize, as well as being eligible to win one of three grand prizes. There is $2,000 of prize money to be won this year with the winners announced on Saturday, March 7 at Kildonan Place shopping centre's centre court. That's where other activities are also taking place as part of Provincial Engineering and Geoscience Week. School Groups with 10 or more students participating in the competition are eligible to receive a $100 pizza party for their class. Students aren't the only people who benefit from the competition. For each pound the bridges support before breaking, one dollar will be donated to Winnipeg Harvest. So far, the competition has donated $179,279 to Winnipeg Harvest, enabling them to distribute over 3.5 million kilograms of food to families in Manitoba. Entrants are also encouraged to bring a 'Tin for the Bin' for Winnipeg Harvest. The week gets underway on a Sunday, March 1 at Kildonan Place with activities for kids of all ages. These range from building structures out of gumdrops, to bridging a raging river using straws, and even digging for rocks and minerals, and building a working electrical circuit. This same range of kid-friendly activities will be repeated the next Sunday, March 8. All activities at Kildonan Place are free to attend, but parents and guardians are reminded they may not leave their children unattended. The bridge competition gets underway on Tuesday, March 3 with elimination rounds at schools across Winnipeg. Bridge building teams can be made up of as many as three students, but they must be pre-registered. Gitzel says the idea of all the week's activities is to showcase elements of engineering that are easy for young Manitobans to grasp. "With doctors, lawyers and dentists, the general public interacts with them and they understand what they do, but engineering is more behind the scenes of society so we're trying to make people better understand our profession," he says. Further information about Engineering and Geoscience Week can be found at IT'S EXPECTED THAT MORE THAN 1,000 STUDENTS WILL TAKE PART IN THIS YEAR'S SPAGHETTI BRIDGE COMPETITION AS PART OF PROVINCIAL ENGINEERING AND GEOSCIENCE WEEK. PHOTOS BY LEIF ANDERSON Who will master the pasta? The Spaghetti Bridge Building competition has donated $179,279 to Winnipeg Harvest, enabling them to distribute over 3.5 million kilograms of food to families in Manitoba.

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