2000 Provincial School Challenge
Hercules’ Pillar Results
Pillar (Grades 7-12)
task for this event is to construct an operational free-standing
pillar within the constraints imposed by the rules of this
event. The winner will be the team which predicts the greatest
operational load value for their pillar, provided the pillar
actually holds this load. Competitors must realize that their
pillar may be tested to its breaking point!
of 100 popsicle sticks
inch piece of plywood (36 cm x 36 cm) to serve as the base
for the popsicle stick
inch piece of plywood (22 cm x 22 cm) to serve as the platform
on the top of the
stick pillar (upon which the load will be placed)
of 12 woodnails to fasten the base and platform to the pillar
should be given a total of one hour within which to complete
the construction and testing of their pillar. 30 minutes
will be allocated for construction. Students will then
have 10 minutes within which to determine the operational
load value of their pillar, record it and submit it to
pillar is to be constructed of popsicle sticks and any
type of glue. No other materials are permitted.
A maximum of 100 popsicle sticks may be used. Glue should
be confined to the spaces between the sticks. Note:
Excessive amounts of glue appearing on exposed stick surfaces
should result in disqualification of the entry.
the pillar: The pillar must be mounted on a base made
of ¾ inch plywood (36 cm x 36 cm). A piece of ¾ inch plywood
(22 cm x 22 cm) must be mounted on the top of the pillar
to support the operational load. To mount the pillar on
the plywood base and platform you may attach the popsicle
sticks to either the flat surfaces or edges of the plywood
using glue or nails. Nails MAY NOT be used in the
design of the pillar. To facilitate the mounting of the
pillar, competitors may bevel the sides or create notches
in the construction area of the plywood base and platform.
the plywood base and platform are mounted in the horizontal
plane, the vertical height of the pillar from the top
of the base to the top of the platform must be 45 cm ±
1 cm, measured on the perpendicular from the plywood base.
certain that the area on the platform where the operational
load is placed is clear of any popsicle sticks.
teams must provide the judges with a predicted "operational
load value" for their pillar. The operational load value
is the maximum weight you think your pillar can hold for
at least 5 seconds. This value should be clearly written
on a piece of paper and sealed inside an envelope with
the team name on front. This "operational value" must
be kept confidential until the actual time of testing
for your pillar. Once the pillar and predicted load has
been submitted to the judges, no changes may be made to
the pillar or predicted value.
pillar must meet the construction requirements of this
pillar with the greatest prediction (operational load
value) that successfully holds that predicted load for
at least 5 seconds would be declared the winner.
will not be allowed to touch their pillar once the judges
have declared that construction time is up, nor will they
be allowed contact with their pillar before or during
will be responsible for placing and removing the correct
weight values on each pillar.
the event of a tie, the most aesthetically pleasing pillar
will be the winner.
contest is open to Alberta students in grades 7 through
may be made by groups no larger than four. All students
in a group should be in the same grade level.
results must be received by APEGGA before 5:00 p.m. on
Friday, March 17, 2000. Please include the total weight
supported by the winning pillar, the names of the team
members, grade level, the school, address and a teacher
fax or email results:
1500 Scotia One
10060 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5J 4A2
Fax (780) 425-1722
or concerns? Call Tracy at (780) 426-3990 or toll free at
1-800-661-7020 or Stacey at (403) 262-7714.
to Talk About
is weight distributed? Civil engineers are required to
design and build structures that may be required to withstand
enormous amounts of weight. What sorts of techniques can
be used to make structures stronger?
kind of every day buildings and structures use the same
techniques as the ones used in the pillar building contest?
– how are materials connected together?
of forces throughout the structure.
you would like to include photos of your schools’ participation
in the School Challenge, please forward them to the same address
as the official results. Photos may be used on the APEGGA
Student web page. Please include authorization to use photos
for publication purposes. Note that photos will not be returned.