Dayton students learn fundamentals of budgeting for construction projects

Riley Willis is pictured with the first place bridge. Her partner for the project, David Gerardo, is not pictured.

Mr. Kevin Belanger and his engineering math students at Dayton High School wrapped up the first nine weeks of the semester with a Bridge Building Project. The objective was to design and construct the most economical bridge based on the cost in dollars per kilogram of weight that the bridge could safely support.

“I was so proud of all the teams for creating strong, aesthetically pleasing bridges,” Belanger said.

This year’s champions were David Gerardo and Riley Willis. Their bridge cost $1,285,000 and held 23.9kg, for a winning ratio of $53,765.69/kg (making the fictional taxpayers very happy). An honorable mention for second place went to Garrett Stokes and Arturo Jaime for their bridge, which held 22.33kg and cost $1,325,000 for a ratio of $59,337.21/kg.

For most of the students, this was their first experience in managing a budget. Just like in real-world engineering projects, it takes tremendous planning and designing before construction since the students are required to use their funds economically and record their expenses and account balance.

Teams are issued “checks,” ledgers and order forms for acquisitions. Every team has the same budget, so everyone has the same restraints as they build.

When asked about  the different topics that the engineering class would cover, Belanger said, “Throughout the year, we cover a range of topics since engineering is such a wide field. The projects that follow each section of the curriculum use the concepts that were studied during each unit, so the bridges came after the Materials Properties and Statics and Structures Units. We are now onto Fluid Power, which will be followed by the Fluid Lift Project. Students build lift mechanisms that incorporate hydraulic or pneumatic power to operate their lifts with pistons and cylinders.”

Current Engineering Math students thinking about moving on in engineering for post-secondary endeavors will have experienced units covering forces and friction, manufacturing, quality assurance, physics of machines, and electricity over the rest of the school year. This is an innovative class that creates real-world scenarios for the students to work through.

“Dayton High School is very proud of these students and Mr. Belanger for creating a great classroom atmosphere for students to learn,” District officials said.

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