Maths: Sixth Form Students Host Prep Maths Challenge


It might be a favourite food for many, but spaghetti can also be used to build bridges - and if you don’t believe me then take a look at these photos of the inaugural Bede’s Maths department Engineering Challenge, during which the humble pasta was pushed to its very limits!

These acts of culinary construction involved Year 7 pupils from Bede’s Prep who had come to Upper Dicker for a Maths Challenge Day, hosted by A Level Maths students.


The challenge set by the Sixth Formers was to imagine, design and finally create a spaghetti bridge spanning a gap of 50cm using nothing but spaghetti and glue.

Each team was formed of 5 Year 7 pupils and headed up by a designated Senior School mathematician.


“It was all about teamwork, getting the design made and following the plan,” said Stud House’s Sebastian Whitlock.

The day saw the Lakeside Classrooms full to the brim with busy teams who raced to complete their beautiful constructions within the allotted time limits.


Did they have enough spaghetti to make their plans work? Would their bridges dry in time? Were the glue fumes toxic? All were questions on everyone’s lips during a mad morning of manufacturing (and no, the glue was non-toxic, in case you were curious!)

“The secret to bridges is triangles,” said Eymeric Boyer, Head of Camberlot House.


“And lots and lots and lots of glue,” interjected one of his team, who thankfully managed to pour the majority of his adhesive it over his bridge and not his jacket.

After lunch, and whilst the glue dried, there were several additional activity sessions where the Year 7’s got the chance to learn about mathematicians such as Leonard Euler, Pythagoras and Plato (including his love of football...)


As the day drew to a close, it then became time for the Grand Finale during which weights were added to the bridges and each was pushed to their very limit and beyond.

For many, this was their first real taste of engineering in the classroom, giving students the chance to explore complex ideas using simple tools.


A hearty congratulations to Toby Murray-Brewster, Rafferty Nunn, Charlotte O’Connell, Kirstin Orr and Mathias Pavilides, who were crowned as Bede’s Bridge Building Champions 2017!


Learn more about the Bede’s Senior School Maths department >

Learn more about the Bede’s Prep School Maths department >