With great towers come great responsibility

Engineering students test their building and design skills


Lucas Bonds

Photo by Aubreigh Varias

Crack! the thin wood snaps under the immense pressure. The young men grin ear to ear as they watch their weeks of hard work and study demolished at the front of the classroom.

Brent Berryman’s engineering design and architecture design classes built balsa wood towers to test the students’ skills in designing and civil engineering.

“[The students] get to understand what is going on as far as structure strength and design,” Berryman said. “They then actually build the tower and test it to find which one’s the best.”

The towers were ranked by how the percentage of weight the tower held divided by the weight of the tower, also known as efficiency.The towers held from 92 lbs to 468 lbs, and had efficiency of anywhere from 1,000 to 8,000 percent.

“I think my tower did pretty good, considering it got first place,” Angel Perez said. “I learned that just because your tower doesn’t look the most intricate, it doesn’t mean it won’t perform really well.”

Berryman’s classes assist students in evolving their design skills and learning what engineers and architects do in the work environment.

“I’ve been able to build and learn what an engineer does on a daily basis,” engineering design student Ryan Spellman said. “I would really like to do this for a living.”