Building bridges, one toothpick at a time

Created: March 10, 2020 05:35 PM

When you think of a single toothpick, the word "strong" may not come to mind. A few Northland high school students put those little wooden sticks to the ultimate test, in the 27th Annual Toothpick Bridge Competition.


The Duluth Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers hosted the competition, where students come together in teams to try and build the strongest bridge out of just toothpicks and school glue.

The bridges were judged for aesthetics. Students then loaded their handmade bridges to failure, determining the strongest. Two seniors, Dillion Krisik and James Lagrew had a few doubts on how much weight theirs could hold, but were surprised with the outcome!

Their team only suspected the bridge to hold about 100 lbs., but they kept loading up the sand and the toothpicks held on to hold 161 lbs.

Duluth Mayor Emily Larson joined in on the architectural fun. Students competing came from Bayfield, Birchwood, Carlton, Cloquet, Cromwell-Wright, Deer River, Duluth Denfeld, Duluth East, Eveleth Gilbert, Hermantown, South Shore, and Superior High Schools. Congratulations to all you future engineers!

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