Take the Fluor Engineering Challenge!

Cricket Wicket Knockdown Challenge

Details about the 2020 Fluor Challenge and prizes will be announced at the end of December. Submissions for the challenge will be open February 16th, 2020 through March 13th, 2020. Check back soon for more information!

Meanwhile, try your hand at one of our previous challenges:

Volleyball Machine—Congratulations to the 2019 Fluor Challenge Drawing Winners and High Scorers!

More than 4,300 students from 10 countries participated in the 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge—our fifth anniversary of this annual event. Challenged to create a volleyball machine consisting of two devices, separated by a paper net, which could launch and return a ping pong ball, students brainstormed and built innovative solutions out of simple materials like cups, rubber bands, paper, tape, and craft sticks. Striving to minimize the materials used and maximize the number of successful back-and-forth volleys required iterative problem solving and persistence and led to some truly creative solutions.

All eligible team entries were placed into random prize drawings based on geographic location. Congratulations to the twenty 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
MKG 6Enrichment St. Laurence Catholic School
Greenville, SC
Candy Gods Summit Drive Elementary
Orange County, CA
David Samueli Academy
Calgary, Alberta
Guide Group 3 Cybermentor – Pathfinder STEM Day
United States (including Puerto Rico)
Team Fluff Wedgwood Elementary School
Sra Batista – Malia, Lola & Lalaih Viejo Elementary
IBA Tanks Unioto Elementary
Science Experts Jonesboro Visual & Performing Art Magnet
Unbeatables Bess Campbell Elementary
Caesar Dressing Lovers The Moriah School
CF & TR Slavens K-8 School
We Don't Know What We Are Doing Horton Middle School
Team Team Arizona Agribusiness ad Equine Center
Rosie Gar-bage III John Curtis Christian School
Team DEAW Halifax Elementary
The Ballers Wayne High School
International
Taylor & Olivia Team Goomeri State School
Super N John De Graff Elementary School
Team #craftycandygirls Cloverdale Traditional — SD 61
Cupaccino Chinook Council Scouts
Table 1. Random drawing winners of the 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge
 
Some of the many student teams that entered the 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge
Figure 1. A few of the teams who submitted Volleyball Machine solutions for the 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge

Top Scores for the 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge

The Fluor Challenge is open to students in grades K-12. The top 10 scores, overall, for the 2019 Fluor Challenge are shown in Table 2. All scores are validated by Science Buddies staff based on submission photos and the Challenge rules. Regardless of score, all entries that met the geographic requirements were entered in the random drawings.

Histogram showing distribution of scores for for all teams in the 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge
"The best thing about the Volleyball challenge was that it gave us a realistic look at what engineers have to face from the actual building to deciding between costs and value to teamwork. We learned a lot."

(Team Spike, St Clare School)
Top Volleyball Machine Scores
Team Age
(average)
Score
Decomposers 10 2,881
Team Golden French Fries 10 2,545
Nightmare 14 2,004
Rabbit 101 9 1,998
Demons 15 1,951
Udaan 16 1,881
Fresaiah 15 1,877
Rainbow Warriors 8 1,560
Team Hat 12 1,547
Team GG 14 1,527
Table 2. 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge top scores

2019 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.)

Histogram showing distribution of scores for ages 6-10 for 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge
"Our favorite part about this challenge was the building and trying to work together and learning from our mistakes."

(Junior Rainbow Magic Keepers, Rio Vista Elementary)
Top Volleyball Machine Scores—Ages 6-10
Team School/Program Score
Decomposers St Mary Star of the Sea School 2,881
Team Golden French Fries Rio Vista Elementary 2,545
Rabbit 101 Brainworks International School 1,998
Rainbow Warriors Brainworks International School 1,560
The Engineers Rio Vista Elementary 1,463
HTET MYAT KO Brainworks International School 1,193
NYAN YE LIN Brainworks International School 1,103
Dream Works Brainworks International School 1,101
Just Us Brainworks International School 1,053
Starlight Brainworks International School 1,027
Table 3. 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge top scores for ages 6-10

Histogram showing distribution of scores for ages 11-14 for 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge
"Our favorite part, was having the satisfaction of having something we built work and work well. After, going through many steps of trial and error, and even using different designs to optimize the affect of our machine, it was pleasing to see that we could shoot the ball over the net many times."

(Team Epic Gamers, Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School)
Top Volleyball Machine Scores—Ages 11-14
Team School/Program Score
Nightmare Brainworks International School 2,004
Team HAT Brainworks International School 1,547
Team GG Brainworks International School 1,527
Team SM Brainworks International School 1,385
The Chow Chow Brainworks International School 1,379
The Group 42 Brainworks International School 1,279
The Girlz Brainworks International School 1,200
THET PAING TUN Brainworks International School 1,186
Fish Lasagna Brainworks International School 1,184
Violet Brainworks International School 1,184
Table 4. 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge top scores for ages 11-14

Histogram showing distribution of scores for ages 15-18 for 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge
"Our favorite part of the 2019 Flour Engineering Challenge was when our machine finally worked. We tried multiple different designs and strategies, but it proved to be much harder than we originally thought. When we finally got a good volley going, we were extremely excited. Every time we beat our top score we'd jump around and cheer."

(Team Beta, Governor's Career and Technical Academy for Engineering Study)
Top Volleyball Machine Scores—Ages 15-18
Team School/Program Score
Demons Brainworks International School 1,951
Udaan Swatantra Talim Foundation 1,881
Fresaiah Brainworks International School 1,877
Team Sandra Brainworks International School 1,385
Team H & MS Brainworks International School 1,289
Lethal Brainworks International School 1,244
Doldaegalreedul (rockheads) AG Admissions 1,242
Team N.J.S Brainworks International School 1,070
The below city Calamba City Senior High School 1,038
Jaku Calamba City Senior High School 1,000
Table 5. 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge top scores for ages 15-18


Photos of six teams who entered the 2019 Fluor Challenge
Figure 2. Some of the teams who submitted Volleyball Machine solutions for the 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge

Students Embrace the Challenge

Students who entered the 2019 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 Volleyball Machine Challenge:

"My favorite part of the challenge was the 'team-building' skills that each member of the team acquired. Each member had to find their own 'role' and carry it out to help the team achieve success. It was amazing to see their enthusiasm and the creative thinking involved in each team's design. Students took ownership of their machines and took pride in what they were able to accomplish." (Teacher, Clara Barton Elementary School)
"Super pumped to be able to accomplish this challenge even though it took a LOT of trial and error before finding a design concept that worked." (STEAM Team Color Code, Stillwater Christian School)
"Love all the science and math tie ins!" (Teacher, William Mason Cooper Elementary)
"Never have I seen this group of students so off the charts excited about accomplishing a STEAM challenge. They wanted to keep trying to increase the number of times they could volley their ball, but alas, I had to make them leave so they wouldn't miss their lunch time." (Teacher, Barton Creek Elementary)
"I saw enormous growth in their thinking and reasoning skills as they worked through issues with their designs." (Teacher, Brookstone School)
"My class is always excited for hands-on science activities, but nothing prepared me for their enthusiasm towards this challenge." (Teacher, Garden City School)
"Our favorite part of the Fluor Challenge was the ups and downs of the project. We really enjoyed when our contraption worked but found that when the contraption didn't work we could always find a way to fix it. We really liked how we could work together to complete a task like this that we never imagined we could do." (Team AME, Punahau School)
"My favorite part of the 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge was the limit in the amount of materials you can use. In other engineering competitions, usually the teams with the best materials won, but the point penalty for using too many materials led this to be a fun challenge. Everyone has an equal chance to win, and innovation was tested, rather than the quantity of materials. Making the challenge a goal to make a cheap and effective mechanism is what allowed me to enjoy this project. Thank you!" (Educator, AG Admissions)
"TEAM work rocks! We loved the challenge and 'doing science.' We demonstrated what we CAN DO and loved the results. Thank you for challenging us to do our best!" (Team Bayou Boys, John Curtis Christian School)

Continue to Challenge Yourself

Even though the 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge is over, students can still try their hands at the Volleyball Machine Challenge engineering activity! Simply follow the online instructions to gather materials, design, build, and test your version of a volleyball machine.

If you are looking for even more fun engineering challenges, check out the 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 challenges and come back early next year to find out about the 2020 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 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge

Fluor 2019 Volleyball Machine Challenge designers
Fluor employees who came up with this year's challenge include engineers (from left to right) Michael Bower, Tina Tajalli, Mark Thies, and Rafael Villegas.

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.

Michael Bower, Tina Tajalli, Mark Thies, and Rafael Villegas, four engineers from Fluor's Southern California USA office, are the inspiration behind the 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge. When they sat down to design the challenge, Michael, Tina, Mark, and Rafael wanted to pay tribute to the local beach culture. What they developed is an engineering challenge based on beach volleyball. In the challenge, two devices keep a ping pong ball (representing a volleyball) in play, going back and forth over a paper net. The result is a fun and sometimes wacky engineering challenge!

Although they come from different engineering backgrounds and have different jobs, Michael, Tina, Mark, and Rafael (along with many other engineers at Fluor) work together on big projects. It takes the combination of their different skills (along with those of other engineers at Fluor) to design and build complex systems like oil refineries and power plants. The ability to work well as a team helped them come up with the Volleyball Machine Challenge! Students can read more about Michael, Tina, Mark, and Rafael's jobs, hobbies, and what got them interested in engineering and then use this special career worksheet to explore the rich world of engineering.

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

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
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
She Wolves 11 77290
DAAD 14 76770
Table 2. 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge top scores

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
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
BayGirl Bay Academy 76,144
Table 4. 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge top scores for ages 11-14

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
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
The Land Urchin Samueli Academy 44,420
Table 5. 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge top scores for ages 15-18


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: