What Is the West Point Bridge Design Club?
    The West Point Bridge Design Club competes in the US Military Academy's Bridge Design Contest. The contest formally begins in January and ends in April.
    The focus of the club is engineering -- we learn how to build a bridge using a software package from the US Military Academy's Engineering Department. The software package is free and can be downloaded from this site:
    In addition to using the software package the club members in the fall will participate in after school sessions that focus on the physics of bridges. Participation is required.
    During the autumn club members will attempt to build a bridge in the classroom in addition to becoming familiar with the West Point software.
    Come January a new version of the software is made available by the Academy and each club member will download the new version to their personal laptop or home computer.
    Starting in the autumn the club members think about forming a team: according to the Academy rules, a "team" is either 1 person working alone or 2 students working together. No one can be on more than one team and no changes in team structure are allowed once the formal contest begins in January.
    Student Participation
    Any science student is welcome to participate. This is the process we ask all students to follow:
    First, see your science teacher and inform him or her of your interest.
    Second, you must sign up with Mr. Tumolillo, West Point Bridge Design Club Adviser at CHS. You will proved MrT with your name, e-mail, cell phone number, course you are taking, and science teacher's name. There is a registration form linked to this page which you must fill out.
    Third, to be eligible for the contest you must accomplish the following: 
    a) participate in the engineering discussions in the fall and do some readings on the subject;
    b) work with a team in building an actual bridge here in the classroom;
    c) download the current version of the design software and complete a minimum of 10 practice designs by January. The designs will be judged via the West Point judging software and ranked on the Columbia HS "local competition" area of the West Point site. The student with the winning design will receive an award (please, don't think you will win a Nobel Prize here!)
    d) come mid-January when the new software is available, download it to you computer.
    Fourth, students are expected to fully participate in the formal competition which begins in mid-January. In the first round teams can submit as many designs as they wish -- I expect each team to submit at least 5 designs in the preliminary round. The West Point judging software will retain only the best score for each team.
    The second round will have only 36 or so teams from around the world. If a CHS team makes it to this round, there are strict guidelines that we have to follow. A student will have only an afternoon to submit a design and only one design can be submitted per team.
    The last round is usually in April and only the top 6 teams in the nation participate. These teams are brought up to West Point and they execute the final round in the Engineering Building at the Academy. The winning design usually is awarded a $10,000 college scholarship and 2nd place is awarded a $5,000 college scholarship. All teams in the final round receive a computer.
    Field Trip to the "Maker Faire" at the NY Hall of Science in Queens NY - September 30, 2012
    CHS intends to bring interested science students to the "Maker Faire" at the NY Hall of Science in Queen NY, near the Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium.
    Maker is the name of a magazine that focuses on electronics and robotics projects accessible to students. The Faire (their spelling, not mine) is a huge collection of incredible science, engineering and robotics projects, kits, companies and demonstrations.
    Here is a link to the Faire web site:
    There is a fee to attend. We will go by bus and there may be a fee for the bus as well.
    Students in the CHS science clubs are eligible to attend. More information will be posted at the beginning of the school year.
    Field Trip to United States Military Academy at West Point - May 2, 2013
    CHS is planning a field trip on Thursday, May 2, to the US Military Academy at West Point, NY. On that day -- "Project Day" -- the Academy seniors (called "Firsties" at the Academy) at West Point present their senior projects. For engineering majors these projects are called their Capstone Projects; for non-engineering majors these are their senior theses.
    More than 1000 Firsties will have public displays of their projects and many of them are terrific science and engineering projects. The public is welcome to attend, view the projects and discuss them with the cadets. We believe this will give our most interested science students a chance to see the kind of work involved in science and engineering at the college level and discuss these projects with cadets who are only a few years older.
    CHS intends to bring the following students who get parental permission to attend:
    a) active members of the West Point Bridge Design Club;
    b) any student who wins an award at the CHS Science Fair in April;
    c) active members of other CHS science clubs: Robotics, Environmental, Astronomy and the Science League.
    We will travel by bus to West Point, leaving early in the morning (around 8AM) and returning at approximately 6PM and there will be a nominal charge for the bus trip.
Last Modified on July 23, 2012