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Schoharie Scouts Test Popsicle Bridges

Written By Timothy Knight on 3/19/15 | 3/19/15


Members of the Schoharie Webelos Den 1, Pack 4 might be fourth graders, but in order to secure their Engineer Activity Badge and Cub Scout Mathematics Belt Loop and Pin, they utilized principles from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

David S. Danner, Webelos Den Leader, Pack 4,
explains to his scouts that the test is not a
competition, but rather an individual exercise.
Conducting a demonstration Monday evening at the Schoharie Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, the Scouts to be tested the compression and tension of several Popsicle Bridges on a device designed to test the dynamic load bearing weight of the bridges. 

The device, which Troop 4's Scout Master Curt Van Steele described as a "contraption," was designed by Van Steele's father, Ronald, a Material Engineer and former instructor at RPI. The test measured how much weight each bridge could sustain.

Scout Master Curt Van Steel explains the
science behind the demonstration, with a
bridge ready to be tested.
Just the next step in securing their Engineer Activity Badges, Webelos pack members Jakob Danner, Joshua Mitchell, and Keenan Repicky constructed their bridges in different sizes and ways, with each design rendering its own strengths and weaknesses. 

Keenan's sister, Molly, a Girl Scout also joined in the fun with her own bridge as well. 

The results were impressive, as it took 40 lbs and 15.3 oz for Jakob's bridge to fail, 17 lbs and 11oz for Joshua's, 09 lbs and 11 oz for Keenan's, and besting all the boys, Molly's took 47 lbs and 5.8 oz of tension before her bridge splintered in pieces. 

Jakob Danner's bridge required several weights
in addition to the machine's tension to fail.
Webelos Den 1, Pack 4 was started last fall in Schoharie and its participants have had a perfect attendance record, with meetings held weekly during the school year and bimonthly over the summer. The boys will also be attending the Camp Henderson Boy Scout camp for a week this summer.

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