Students build bridges during AASHTO meeting

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 21, 2010

NATCHEZ — Robert Lewis Middle School students got a chance to build some bridges Thursday — figuratively and literary.

Tupelo Middle School students, who recently won a model bridge building contest at their school, instructed RLMS students during the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Spring Meeting at the Natchez Convention Center.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to work with the kids in Natchez,” TMS Principal Linda Clifton said. “The kids from Natchez have done a wonderful job.”

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While overseeing the model RLMS students Clara Wimberly, 14, and Sidney McCullen, 14, were building, Tupelo student Yarah Amador, 14, said she was glad AASHTO invited her down to instruct.

“I’m having a blast doing this,” she said. “Teaching them is the best way for me to learn.”

The Wimberly-McCullen team was competing against two other teams. The three teams were working to build the bridge that could hold the most weight.

“I think ours will win,” Amador said.

“Yeah, it looks good,” Wimberly added.

McCullen said even though she wants to go into the medical field, this was still a good experience.

“It is fun,” she said. “We’re learning how to make a bridge and make it stand.”

Wimberly said she was selected by her math teacher to participate in the program, and was enjoying it.

“I like working with math,” she said. “I’ve built a bridge out of straws at my house before for a science fair, which was kind of similar.”

This time around, Wimberly had access to a computer program, Bentley, which is what the Mississippi Department of Transpertation uses, TMS math teacher Connie Gusmus said.

“This is like a hands-on, real world project,” Gusmus said. “There is a lot of science and math involved in this program, and I think it will be good for the students.”