The University of Minnesota and the Georgia Institute of Technology host the NFPA Fluid Power Challenge — a competition that gets middle school students excited about fluid power. A Workshop Day for the event was held in December 2014, followed by a Competition Day, to be held on January 26 (UMN) and 27 (GT), 2015, respectively.
During the Fluid Power Challenge, middle school students learn about fluid power technology (hydraulics and pneumatics) and gain hands-on experience while building a fluid power mechanism with real world applicability. The program is designed to introduce the students, and their teachers, to the world of engineering and fluid power careers. During the Challenge Day at the University of Minnesota and GeorgiaTech, over 40 8th-grade teams (four students per team) will design and build fluid power mechanisms that pick an object from one platform and move it to another. In addition to the number of pick-and-place cycles a team’s machine completes, a review of the design approach, teamwork and portfolio will be used in the final evaluation.
A student from a past competition said: “This opens up more opportunities for engineering and careers kids aren’t aware of. It’s fun … you get to work with other kids and learn more math and science.”
Through the Challenges, the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP), headquartered at the U of MN, and the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) hopes to encourage students to select more mathematics and science courses in their high school curricula to keep their options open for technology-based post-secondary studies.
Tags: Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power, Georgia Institute of Technology, National Fluid Power Association, NFPA Fluid Power Challenge, University of Minnesota