Thompson Rivers University

Faculty of Science

Faculty of Science

Popsicle Stick Bridge Contest Objectives, Guidelines & Rules


The objective of the contest is to construct the strongest bridge possible with white wood working glue and no more than 100 Popsicle sticks. The bridge must span a 50 cm gap otherwise, the design of the bridge is left up to the competitor. More detailed specifications are included on the following pages.

Anyone is welcome to participate. You are encouraged to register early and to begin building your bridge well in advance of the contest. You will have to build the bridge in steps as it will be difficult to build it in one go due to the varying orientations of surfaces to be glued.

Contestants may enter bridges individually or as a team. Each bridge built by a team or an individual is considered 1 entry. Entries will be accepted in the following categories:

  • Elementary: Grades 7 and Under
  • Secondary: Grades 8 to 12
  • Open: Public, mixed-category teams, university students, excepting professional engineers
  • Corporate: Open to professional engineers or employees of engineering firms only

For other than the Corporate category, the entry category for each bridge will be determined by the age of the builder for individual bridges, or by the age of the oldest member for team bridges.

Guidelines and Rules

  1. Bridges must be built with a maximum of 100 Popsicle sticks and white all purpose glue or white wood glue. No other glues are acceptable.
  2. Popsicle sticks must be left whole. They must not be cut, split, or otherwise altered.
  3. The bridge must span a 50 cm gap and fit within the specified clearance envelope. We recommend that the bridge be at least 55 cm long to avoid falling through the 50 cm gap when tested.
  4. The highest centre portion of the bridge must be designed to contact a 100mm wide loading plate through which the TRU Bridge Buster will apply loading to the bridge.
  5. The highest center portion of the bridge must be no more than 40 cm higher than the TRU Bridge Buster test rails in order to fit into the machine.
  6. Bridges will be inspected at registration. Any violations of the above guidelines could result in disqualification from the official results, but the contestant(s) will still be allowed to unofficially have their bridge tested.
  7. Bridges will be weighed before being loaded. In the event of a tie, the lightest bridge wins. Bridges will be loaded from the top with a loading plate as described in 6 above and shown in the event package.
  8. Loading will be continuously monitored and gradually increased until the bridge fails. The winner is the bridge that holds the largest load prior to failure.
  9. All bridges will be loaded to the point of failure unless the contestant decides not to continue with incremental loads in order to save their bridge!
  10. Contestants and spectators will be expected to stand clear of the testng area and follow directions of officials at all times during the event.

Download an Event Package

Download an Entry Form