WAKE FOREST — The Franklin Academy Middle School Bridge Building Team started as a vision in the eyes of a Franklin Academy rising senior in the summer of 2015. This vision slowly became a reality in the fall of 2015 when Jacob Faulkner sent out a request to middle school students who would like to join a team focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) principles.
This team started as a project, but it evolved into a life changing experience. The team was primarily manned by six students who took a chance to join the program. From these six students; Elijah Duncan, Marquise Harris, Logan Brewer, Lauren Garrett, Owen McDonald and Anthony Caudill, started running. They brainstormed ideas on what bridge they wanted to model after. The creativity flowed from there, and they decided to model their bridge after the Golden Gate Bridge.
The next step was to turn that bridge into a reality.
Faulkner taught the students how to design the bridge on Google Sketchup. A model was created. Next was construction of the bridge based on the model. The middle school students cut, glued, and sanded their way to a model Kings Post Truss Bridge.
The kids learned the engineering concepts behind building a bridge, and they wrote an essay that exemplified their knowledge on bridge building. They also performed of Star Wars modified to suit a bridge building competition. This process not only made science enjoyable, but it allowed for
the students to gain a better understanding for science based on hands on experience. They received the priceless wisdom obtained with experience, and this will greatly benefit them in their STEM pursuits in the future.
In their inaugural season, they finished in second place in regional competition at NCDOT.
These opportunities can all be accredited to the NCDOT for hosting a program that reaches out to the needs of the up and coming generation.