Five budding engineers made a bridge of small wooden beams that withstood a toy car weighing 130 times its weight. The students amazed spectators with the feat in the Bridge Building Competition for Secondary Schools earlier this month. The contest was co-organised by the department of construction at the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Tsing Yi) and the department of civil engineering at the University of Hong Kong. Thirty-one teams entered bridges made of wooden sticks measuring 0.3cm in width. Each team took turns explaining their designs to the adjudicators and the bridges were then put to a series of weight tests. In one of the tests, a toy car was put on each bridge. As it moved slowly along the bridge, small objects were put on top of the car to test the structure's strength. Five Form Three students from TWGHs Kwok Yat Wai College snatched first prize with their arching bridge as it carried the most weight. The students said the contest gave them a practical lesson in physics. 'Before the competition, we looked up information about bridges on the internet. We learned that an arc bridge can withstand objects that weigh many times its weight,' said Siu Po-shing, a member of the winning team. The young engineers were happy to be able to put their interest in architecture to good use in the contest. 'I have liked assembling miniature models since I was a child,' said Fung Wing-kit, also from the winning team. 'I was responsible for cutting the wood pieces for the bridge. The work involved much skill as every piece had to have precise measurements of width and length.' The students also learned to take responsibility for their designated task while still working as a team. 'I was responsible for pasting the wood pieces together with glue,' said team member Tsang Kin. 'Despite the occasional arguments over the arrangement of work, we could always find a way to iron out our differences.' Taking part in design competitions is a good way for students to put their knowledge into practice. 'They can apply the physics concepts they learned at school,' said Ng Kai-yin, the students' technological studies teacher. 'They also learned the importance of co-operation and team spirit.'