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Take the Fluor Engineering Challenge!

Ball Launcher—Congratulations to the 2018 Fluor Challenge Drawing Winners and High Scorers!

More than 3,800 students from 10 countries participated in the 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge. Challenged to create a ball launcher and receiver using everyday materials (like cups, pencils, ruler, tape, rubber bands, and paper), students devised and tested innovative solutions and launcher designs. After successfully creating a simple machine to launch a small ball made from aluminum foil, many students continued to test and modify their designs to try for successful catches with even greater launch distances. More than 1,390 teams submitted entries for the 2018 Fluor Challenge.

All eligible team entries were placed into random prize drawings based on geographic location. Congratulations to the ten winning teams listed in Table 1 whose names were drawn from the eligible pools! Each of these teams earned $1,000 USD from Fluor for their school, organization, or afterschool program.

Team School / Program
Houston, TX
Third Ward Kempner High School
Greenville, SC
Newton's 4 Launchers Monarch Elementary School
Orange County, CA
Team Hi Joseph Perry Elementary School
Calgary, Alberta
The Hamsters Chinook Council Scouts
United States (including Puerto Rico)
The Long Boomers LaGrange Elementary
Survivors Jemison Intermediate School
Survivors Rio Vista Elementary
International
Catapult Supernova Philippine Christian School of Tomorrow
Space Potatoes Glenwood Elementary
Super Cats Academie de la Capitale
Table 1. Random drawing winners of the 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge
 
Some of the many teams that entered the 2018 Fluor Challenge
Figure 1. A few of the teams who submitted Ball Launcher solutions for the 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge

Top Scores for the 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge

The Fluor Challenge is open to students in grades K-12. The top 10 scores, overall, for the 2018 Fluor Challenge are shown in Table 2. All scores are validated by Science Buddies staff based on submission photos, the Challenge rules, and follow-up with teams, as necessary. Regardless of score, all entries that met the geographic requirements were entered in the random drawings.

Scores for 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge
"My favorite part was the teamwork part, because I got to work with other smart minds to put a good working launcher together. The ideas we came up with to create a working launcher were great!"
(Team KWK)
Top Ball Launcher Solution Scores
Team Age
(average)
Score
Dorillos 12 169,958*
Selene & Miki 18 142,060*
Catapultimate 12 134,464*
Students of Leonardo da Vinci 12 106,325*
The Pencils 14 89,720
Explorers 14 87,480
Razorbacks 12 84,250
Coy and Carlo 17 83,250
Srijan 14 77720
Science Nerds 11 77650
Table 2. 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge top scores
Note: * score is still being verified.

2018 Fluor Challenge Scores by Age

Students entering the Fluor Challenge work in teams of up to four students. To recognize the hard work students did creating and testing their solutions and to give students a better sense of how their solutions and scores compare to other students of similar age, the tables and graphs below show the top scores and score distribution for submissions from ages 6-10, 11-14, and 15-18. (Note: The age used for each team is the average age of all members on the team.)

Scores for ages 6-10 for 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge
"The kids absolutely loved the challenge of discovering ways to not only launch further, but how to make their launches more accurate. As a teacher, I loved how each team had to discover what items to use and perform multiple trials to be successful."
(Teacher, Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School)
Top Ball Launcher Solution Scores—Ages 6-10
Team School/Program Score
Flying Solo Homeschool 66,475
The Web Glenwood Elementary 53,430
RTL Brainworks International School 51,435
Big Bang Philippine Christian School of Tomorrow 49,870
The Launcher Boys SCOPES Academy at Unioto Elementary 46,370
Firebolt Rio Vista Elementary 44,640
Amazing Launcher Philippine Christian School of Tomorrow 42,570
M&M St Michael's School 42,000
3D Sparkle SCOPES Academy at Unioto Elementary 40,745
Fast 4 Rio Vista Elementary 39,580
Table 3. 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge top scores for ages 6-10

Scores for ages 11-14 for 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge
"My favorite part of the challenge was building and engineering the device. Trial and error was really fun because we got to improve our machine until we achieved our goal."
(Team The Juniors, Coppell Middle School East)
Top Ball Launcher Solution Scores—Ages 11-14
Team School/Program Score
Dorillos Hughes Academy 169,958*
Catapultimate Bay Academy 134,464*
Students of Leonardo da Vinci Bay Academy 106,325*
The Pencils St. Clare School 89,720
Explorers Swatantra Talim Foundation 87,480
Razorbacks West Side Greers Ferry School 84,250
Srijan Swatantra Talim Foundation 77,720
Science Nerds Bay Academy 77650
She Wolves West Side Greers Ferry School 77,290
DAAD Chester Hill High School 76,770
Table 4. 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge top scores for ages 11-14
Note: * score is still being verified.

Scores for ages 15+ for 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge
"It was fun to problem solve and find a way to make the ball go as far as possible with using the least amount of points. We also enjoyed building the launcher and testing."
(Team Silicon, Mauldin High School)
Top Ball Launcher Solution Scores—Ages 15-18
Team School/Program Score
Selene & Miki Prepa Tec Campus Santa Anita 142,060*
Coy and Carlo Kennedy High School 83,250
Gorilla Roar Kempner High School 66,060
Manon's Project Riverside High School 51,351
Chicken Nuggets Fairchild Wheeler Magnet - Engineering 49,882
Silicon Mauldin High School 48,505
Team Calvin New Covenant Christian School 46,614
Sine(P) Kempner High School 45,915
Green Machines De La Salle Santiago Zobel School 45,380
Ramon Alpha Ramon Duterte Memorial National High School 44,514
Table 5. 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge top scores for ages 15-18
Note: * score is still being verified.


Teams who entered the 2018 Fluor Challenge
Figure 2. Some of the teams who submitted Ball Launcher solutions for the 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge

Students Embrace the Challenge

Students who entered the 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge had the chance to explore, firsthand, what it means to be an engineer and to collaborate with others to solve a problem and improve a solution. Here are a few examples of what students (and their teachers) told us about their experience doing this year's Ball Launcher challenge:

"My favorite part of the 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge was our failures. It was very fun to learn what we could do better and how. I also enjoyed this because our project became better and better after each mistake. Thanks to the 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge I have learned how to work out real world situations, communicate, and have a good time during projects such as this." (Team The Mighty Rubber Ducks, Saint John School-Encinitas)
"Our Favorite part of the 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge was drawing up the plans for our design and watching it come to life step by step." (Team LazerShot, Kennedy High School)
"Creating and building our own design was really good. We don't often get to actually follow the Engineering Design Process all the way and get to test and adapt our designs. We enjoyed trying to get the best score possible." (Team JACE, Goomeri State School)
"Our favorite part of the 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge was gaining teamwork and problem solving skills. In order to make our tinfoil ball travel farther, we had to figure out how to create more tension without the tension making the device collapse. This took problem solving skills and testing. It also took teamwork, because we had to combine and compare our ideas. Gaining these skills helped us to be more successful." (Team Launch Hawks, L.C. Bird High School)
"My favorite is always watching how teams compromise, work together, and encourage one another to be the best version of themselves. Their favorite part was definitely launching a foil ball across the classroom (even when it didn't go into the catching device)." (Teacher, Highland Park Elementary)
"I am the 5th grade science teacher at Monarch Elementary School. This challenge came in the middle of our Force and Motion unit and all six of my classes loved participating. I especially enjoyed listening to the conversations that happened between team mates as they processed what they were creating. Thanks for this wonderful opportunity!" (Teacher, Monarch Elementary School)

For additional information, quotes, and images from the 2018 Fluor Challenge, see Fourth Annual Fluor Challenge Celebrates Engineering.

Continue to Challenge Yourself

Even though the 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge is over, students can still try their hands at the Ball Launcher engineering activity! Simply follow the online instructions to gather materials, design, build, and test your version of a ball launcher and catcher.

If you are looking for even more fun engineering challenges, check out the 2015, 2016, and 2017 challenges and come back early next year to find out about the 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge!

If you have questions about the Fluor Challenge, please email us at fluorchallenge@sciencebuddies.org.

Meet the Team of Fluor Engineers who Created the 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge

Fluor Engineers who designed the 2018 challenge
Fluor employees who came up with this year's challenge include process engineers Temitope Jabaru (left), Linh Nguyen (middle) and Tom Wooley (right).

Fluor holds a Friendly Competition between its engineers every year. The winning team then gets the honor of devising the company challenge for the next year.

Tom Wooley, Linh Nguyen, and Temitope Jabaru, three engineers from Fluor's Houston USA office, are the inspiration behind the 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge. When they sat down to design the challenge, Tom, Linh, and Temitope wanted to pay tribute to Houston's recent history as the location of the 2017 NFL Super Bowl Championship. What they developed is an engineering challenge based on American football. In the challenge, the ball launcher represents the quarterback (the player that throws the ball), and the ball catcher represents the receiver (the player that catches the ball). The result is a fun engineering challenge!

Do you know what process engineers like Tom, Linh, and Temitope do? According to Linh, process engineers are the "architects" of a refinery or plant. "Process engineers determine the design of the plant by figuring out how the plant needs to work in order to take a starting material and transform it into the desired end product," explains Linh. Linh says that process engineers are responsible for determining what equipment is needed, what 'size' everything needs to be, and how the pieces will all fit together. "The design that process engineers develop forms the 'blueprints' (drawings and specification sheets) of the plant," explains Linh. Using the blueprints they create for a project, process engineers then work with other disciplines (like Mechanical, Piping, Control Systems, Electrical, and Construction) to complete the project. According to Linh, collaborating with other teams is how process engineers "bring their design to life and build a successful plant!"

To become process engineers, Tom, Linh, and Temitope all trained as chemical engineers. Despite having different interests and hobbies, they share a love of math and chemistry that led them to their engineering careers at Fluor. Students can read more about Tom, Linh, and Temitope and then use this special career worksheet to explore the rich world of engineering careers.

Fluor is a registered service mark of Fluor Corporation. All rights reserved.

Follow the Flow Challenge—Congratulations to the Drawing Winners and High Scorers!

Over 3000 students from 11 countries participated in the 2017 Fluor Engineering Challenge. Starting with a few simple materials (cups, aluminum foil, tape, and popsicle sticks) students came up with creative ways to build a water flow system to move beads through terraced layers. A small sampling of the hundreds of entries can be seen in Figure 1. We were impressed with the range of solutions students came up with, as well as the innovative spirit and 'can-do' attitude demonstrated by teams around the world!

All eligible team entries were placed into random prize drawings based on their geographic location. Congratulations to the ten winning teams listed in Table 1 whose names were drawn from the eligible pools! Each of these teams earned $1,000 USD from Fluor for their school or afterschool program.

Team School / Program
Houston, TX
Engineering Robotics Southwest Glen Mission
Greenville, SC
The KLT Waterworks Sevier Middle School
Orange County, CA
Outlawed Kennedy High School
Calgary, Alberta
The Wall Chinook Council Scouts
United States (including Puerto Rico)
Raindrop Los Alisos Intermediate
The Waterworks YBH of Passaic
Galaxy Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva
International
Girls Rule Engineering Club École Victoria-Albert School
TerraSys De La Salle Santiago Zobel School
Pealed Potatoes Wisdom College
Table 1. Drawing winners of the 2017 Fluor Engineering Challenge
 
2017 Fluor Challenge Participants
Figure 1. A few examples of water flow solutions built during the 2017 Fluor Engineering Challenge.

Students Embrace the Challenge

Students who entered the 2017 Fluor Engineering Challenge learned, firsthand, what it means to be an engineer and to collaborate with others to solve a problem and improve a solution. Here are a few examples of what students told us about their experience doing this year's water flow challenge:

"I really liked the planning phase of building. It felt good to design methods of water flowing, to see if it worked, and If it didn't, then we would re-design it, and that was the fun part."
"Our favorite part of the Flour Engineering Challenge was constructing our design and testing it to see how well it worked."
"Our favorite part of the challenge was going through the engineering process and creating our product. When a problem arose, we would change and think of a way out. Working as a team really helped."
"My favorite part of this challenge was actually building the model of the Banaue Rice Terraces and how much fun it was to see the water going down with the beads."
"We got to experience the problem solving that engineers do when they work."

The top 10 scores for the 2017 Fluor Challenge are shown in Table 2. All scores are validated by Science Buddies staff based on submission photos and the Challenge rules. The theoretical maximum for this challenge, given the limitation of 9 levels, is less than nine thousand points. Regardless of score, all entries that met the geographic requirements were entered in the random drawings.

 
Top Water Flow Solution Scores
Team Age
(average)
Score
Team ParaSaKinabukasan 17 8580
SS Squad 14 8380
RAMs RHS S.L 17 8370
Water Flo 14 8350
B.A.R.S 13 8310
Manon's Project 17 8210
Elements 13 8200
Threeos 11 8180
Waterspirals 14 8180
Homeslice 13 8100
Fantastic Four 16 8090
Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Men 14 8030
Table 2. 2017 Fluor Engineering Challenge top scores.

Continue to Challenge Yourself

Even though the 2017 Fluor Engineering Challenge is over, students can still try their hands at the Follow the Flow engineering activity! Simply follow the online instructions to gather materials, design, build, and test your version of a terraced water flow system.

If you are looking for even more fun engineering challenges, check out the 2015, 2016, and 2018 challenges and come back early next year to find out about the 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge!

Meet the Team of Fluor Engineers Who Came Up With the 2017 Fluor Engineering Challenge

This team of Fluor engineers from Manilla in the Philippines came up with the concept for the 2017 Fluor Engineering Challenge.
Fluor employees who came up with this year's challenge include structural engineers Christopher Reybuenan (left) and Benson Angeles (right), & civil engineer Leann Ababon-Sanggalang.

It is Fluor's tradition to hold an internal Friendly Competition between its engineers every year. The winning team gets bragging rights, ownership of the official trophy for the year, and the honor of devising the next challenge. When Team Wabu, pictured, from Fluor's Manilla office in the Philippines won, they knew what they wanted to do next:

"The team came up with an idea [to] showcase something related to the abundant Filipino heritage, hence, the Banaue Rice Terraces, a man-made, historical structure that the Philippines is very proud of. With this challenge, the team hopes that it can stir up the minds of fellow engineers to come up with their best designs and at the same time have fun."

– Leann, Benson, and Christopher, members of Team Wabu    

With the help of three other colleagues from the Manilla office, the engineers on Team Wabu spent many hours perfecting the challenge details. Team Wabu found that there was one major similarity between their everyday engineering jobs, winning the Friendly Competition, and designing the next one—engineering works best as a team effort! The result of their team effort was a rousing competition between fellow Fluor engineers. Now it is your turn to gather your team, collaborate, and have fun!


Fluor is a registered service mark of Fluor Corporation. All rights reserved.

Marble Machine Challenge—Check Out the Drawing Winners and High Scorers!

The 2016 Fluor Engineering Challenge, held February 11 – March 11, 2016, asked students to design marble machines capable of sorting a mixture of 6 mm and 12 mm spheres into separate cups. With over 600 entries worked on by more than 1700 students, the range of solutions was enormous! We were impressed by the ingenuity and perseverance students demonstrated, and enjoyed seeing each and every entry. Figure 1 shows just a small sample of the hundreds of marble sorting machines students created.

All eligible team entries were placed into random prize drawings based on their geographic location. Congratulations to the ten winning teams listed in Table 1 whose names were drawn from the eligible pools! Each of these teams earned $1,000 USD from Fluor for their school or afterschool program.

Team School / Program
Houston, TX
The Dragons Attack Poverty in Richmond, TX
Greenville, SC
MCK Mauldin High School in Greenville, SC
Orange County, CA
Peanut Butter and Jelly Mission Basilica in San Juan Capistrano, CA
Calgary, Alberta
The Happy Stallions Notre Dame High School in Calgary, Canada
United States (including Puerto Rico)
Legends Los Alisos Intermediate in Mission Viejo, CA
The Undecided Coppell Middle School North in Coppell, TX
Indian Creek A Team Indian Creek High School in Wintersville, OH
International
Bobbington Traditional Learning Academy in Delta, BC, Canada
The Cercons TBD
Vicfia Fluor TeamTMS School in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
Table 1. Drawing winners of the 2016 Fluor Engineering Challenge
 
Fluor Challenge 2016 final collage
Figure 1. A few examples of the marble sorting machines built during the 2016 Fluor Engineering Challenge.

Continue to Challenge Yourself

Even though the 2016 Fluor Engineering Challenge is over, the Marble Machine Challenge remains available for all students to try their hands at. Simply follow the online instructions to gather materials, design, build and test your version of a marble sorting machine.

Curious about how your machine stacks up to entries from the 2016 Fluor Engineering Challenge? Figure 2 shows the distribution of scores across all entries received. The highest peak in the graph corresponds to the 17% of entries that scored less than 500 points. In general, most entries scored 4580 points or less. The top ten highest scores are listed in Table 2. No matter what your score, a marble machine that is built of the limited materials allowed and can successfully sort even some of the spheres is something to be proud of!

If you are looking for even more fun engineering challenges, check out the 2015, 2017, and 2018 challenges and come back early next year to find out about the 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge!

Fluor Challenge 2016 final distribution
Figure 2. 2016 Fluor Engineering Challenge score distribution.
 
Top Marble Machine Scores
Team Age(s) Score
Christopher's Clemson Sorters 169880
ABET 189785
thebom.com139715
Lejit Pandaz15-179655
Knukelés13-149645
Angelica Awesomeness 13 9590
The Rebels 12-149530
DanRich Duo159515
CNT 139495
Rutabaga 159470
Orange Extreme 9-119460
Table 2. 2016 Fluor Engineering Challenge top scores.

Fluor is a registered service mark of Fluor Corporation. All rights reserved.

Balloon-Powered Car Challenge—Check out the Winners and High Scorers!

Designed to help students experience how real-life engineers design solutions and to show students first-hand how fun engineering can be, the 2015 Fluor Engineering Challenge asked students to design, build, and test their own balloon-powered cars using limited materials. Science Buddies and Fluor were thrilled to see the huge range of creative solutions engineered by K-12 students around the world in response to the challenge. Figure 1 shows a small sampling of the hundreds of balloon-car photos we received. Congratulations to the team from Coppell Middle School East in Coppell, Texas, whose team entry won the random drawing for the 2015 Fluor Engineering Challenge and earned $1,500 USD from Flour for their school!

Fluor offered additional prizes in each of four locations (Canada, Orange County, Houston, and Greenville). More information about those winners and photos of their balloon-cars can be seen here.

 
Fluor 2015 landing image 2 rows
Figure 1. 2015 Fluor Engineering Challenge balloon-car samples.

Continue to Challenge Yourself

Even though the 2015 Fluor Engineering Challenge is over, the Balloon-Powered Car Challenge remains available for all students to try their hands at. Simply follow the online instructions to gather materials, design, build and test your version of a balloon-powered car.

Curious about how your car stacks up to entries from the 2015 Fluor Engineering Challenge? Figure 2 shows the distribution of scores across all entries received. The highest peak in the graph corresponds to the 20% of entries which scored between 4001 and 5000 points. In general, most entries (61% to be exact) scored 6000 or less points. The top ten highest scores are listed in Table 1. No matter what your score, a balloon car that can successfully roll along is worth a pat on the back!


Fluor Challenge 2015 scores
Figure 2. 2015 Fluor Engineering Challenge score distribution.
 
Top Ten Balloon-Car Scores
Team Name Student Age(s) Score
TESLA 2015 14 34,000
N/A 14-16 19,420
Anonymous 14 17,340
GTR 12-13 15,500
High Speed 15-16 13,340
David Crockett Middle School 11-14 12,290
Rollin' 15 11,190
Naomi 11 10,460
The Schilling Shuttle 11 10,420
The Jensen Jalopy 11 10,090

Table 1. 2015 Fluor Engineering Challenge top ten scores.

If you are looking for even more fun engineering challenges, check out the 2016, 2017, and 2018 challenges and come back early next year to find out about the 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge!

How the Annual Fluor Engineering Challenge Started

Fluor submission boys girls doing challenge

Fluor engineers design and build some of the world's toughest projects, ranging from Shell's Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS) Quest project to the CALTRANS San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Construction project. For a bit of company fun and friendly competition, Fluor engineers challenge each other every year in a global, company-wide engineering competition. Teams of Fluor engineers have been going head to head in yearly competitions for decades, and each year more than 500 engineers around the world participate in the company challenge.

In 2015 Fluor decided to bring the spirit of their yearly employee competition to students. As part of their celebration of Engineers Week, Fluor launched the first annual student-centered Fluor Engineering Challenge to inspire students K-12 to get hands-on with a fun engineering activity during Engineers Week (February 22-28, 2015). With the help of Science Buddies, Fluor's "Moving on the Moon" internal engineering challenge was transformed into an engaging and student-friendly hands-on engineering project that could be easily introduced in a classroom or afterschool program—or done at home. With cash prizes and bragging rights on the line, more than 350 teams stepped up to the plate from around the world. What came next was amazing to watch: a parade of engineering solutions, innovation, and diverse thinking from students focused on creating their own balloon-powered cars with limited materials. Teachers and students alike wrote in to tell us how much fun they had and how eager they were for more challenges:

It really was just an awesome event. I never expected that it would generate so much buzz among our student body and school community. The kids are so excited to participate in the event again next year. They can't wait to hear what is announced as next year's challenge.

–Timothy Mielke, 5th Grade Teacher, Burlington, WI   

Ongoing Vision for the Fluor Engineering Challenge

The annual Fluor Engineering Challenge is designed to help students experience how real-life engineers design solutions and to show students first-hand how fun engineering can be. Every year, in partnership with Science Buddies, Fluor transforms one of its own internal employee engineering challenges into a student-centric challenge. The challenge is launched in time for Engineers Week so that teachers and afterschool organizations can use the challenge with their students. The challenge is open to all students around the globe with prizes awarded in a more limited geography. At the end of the approximately four week challenge window the winners and top-scorers are announced and prizes are distributed. The challenge itself lives on though! Previous challenges can be accessed at any time through the Science Buddies website. Individual students and groups are invited to try the previous challenges any time they want—students can measure how their solution stacks up to others students' by calculating their own score and comparing it to that of teams who competed during the challenge window. We invite everyone to try their hand at these Fluor Engineering Challenges: