Tallest Paper Tower—2021 Fluor Engineering Challenge
Congratulations to all 2021 Fluor Challenge Participants!
The 2021 Fluor Challenge was one for the record books! More than 6100 students, the highest number to-date, from 20 countries participated in the 2021 Fluor Engineering Challenge. Students competed to build the tallest possible paper tower that could support a can of food for at least a minute. With the Covid-19 pandemic as the background we were impressed to see how the students embraced the challenge and the circumstances and built an amazing diversity of towers from their homes and socially distanced classrooms. Equipped with just thirty sheets of paper and a roll of tape, kindergarteners through seniors in high school built impressive structures by rolling, folding, taping, and twisting. Ranging from a few centimeters tall to over three meters high it was awesome to see the creativity, perseverance, and problem solving that the students put into their paper towers. Figured 1 shows a small sample of the more than 3500 paper towers built during the competition. Congratulations to all the students who participated; you worked hard and we enjoyed seeing all the towers you engineered!
Figure 1. A few of the teams who built Paper Towers for the 2021 Fluor Engineering Challenge.
Below we are thrilled to announce:
- Drawing winners
- Top ten highest scorers (all grades)
- Top scores by age
- Continuing the challenge
2021 Fluor Challenge Drawing Winners
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.
|Team||School / Program|
|Houston Metropolitan Area, TX|
|TTTN||Kempner High School in Sugar Land, TX|
|Greenville Metropolitan Area, SC|
|Scam Artists and Dakota||Sterling School in Greenville, SC|
|Orange County, CA|
|Funny Monkes||Mission Basilica School in San Juan Capistrano, CA|
|EMHS Team #4||Ernest Manning High School in Calgary, Alberta|
|United States (including Puerto Rico)|
|Team Max||Locke Middle School in Billerica, MA|
|P2G12||Serrano Intermediate School in Lake Forest, CA|
|Sheyla||Carrollton Middle-Upper Elementary School in Carrollton, GA|
|Team Pack||Muskoka Beechgrove Primary School in Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada|
|Australian Cats||St. Monica Gifted Program in Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Alpha||TISA National High School in Cebu City, Philippines|
Top Scores for the 2021 Fluor Engineering Challenge
The Fluor Challenge is open to students in grades K-12. The top 10 scores, overall, for the 2021 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.
Figure 2. Some of the paper towers built for this year's challenge were impressively tall.
|Top 10 Tallest Paper Tower Scores|
2021 Fluor Challenge Scores by Age
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 up to age 10, 11-14, and 15-18. (Note: The age used for each team is the average age of all members on the team.)
|Top Tallest Paper Tower Scores—Through Age 10|
|Brother's Grimm||Ryder Hayes School||310|
|Cyrus Sinha||Sandyston Walpack Consolidated School||280|
|Super Mighty||Westmount Charter Elementary School||245|
|SC||Westmount Charter Elementary School||243|
|Architecture Awesomeness!!!!!||Westmount Charter Elementary School||212|
|The Space Racers||Birches Elementary School||212|
|Purple laser||College Graduate||199|
|Captain Silly||Kau Yan School Primary Section||188|
|Team Tall Tower||Hurffville Elementary School||187|
|Top Tallest Paper Tower Scores—Ages 11-14|
|Team Skyscraper||Saint Mary Catholic School||300|
|Team Anonymous||Saint Mary Catholic School||292|
|Bulldogs Rock||West York Area Middle School||245|
|Jake||Sheridan Junior High School||236|
|The Non-Smettie||St. Monica Gifted Program||232|
|Baby Chickens||West York Area Middle School||211|
|Tobias Towers||Tincer Prepatory||203|
|Yellow Jackets||Humansville High||201|
|Team Pepper||Maranatha Christian Academy||198|
|Top Tallest Paper Tower Scores—Ages 15-18|
|The Caveman||Prairie Junior-Senior High School||320|
|g.o.a.t.||Ferris High School||247|
|EMHS team #10||Ernest Manning High School||220|
|Company||Cebu City National Science High School||213|
|Kopernik||III Liceum Ogólnokształcące Kopernik||213|
|Crusaders 1||Trinity Christian School||198|
|Tall Man||Rose Bay High School||197|
|Los Frijoles||Ferris High School||184|
|St. Vincent's Team 4||St. Vincent's School for Sensory Impairment and Other Needs||176|
|Paper Pals||Centennial High School||170|
Figure 3. Students built many different styles of towers and showed great creativity and problem solving.
Students Embrace the Challenge
Students who entered the 2021 Fluor Engineering Challenge had the chance to explore, firsthand, what it means to be an engineer and to work independently or collaboratively with others to construct a stable structure with limited materials. Here are a few examples of what students, teachers, and parents told us about their experience doing this year's Tallest Paper Tower Challenge:
"I loved working hard and engineering this project!" (The Team, Oregon Episcopal School)
"It was nice to see kids motivated about a project in this tricky hybrid learning year!" (Teacher, Great Bay E-learning Charter School)
"Oh my goodness—these kids loved this so much! They kept talking about it and trying to find ways to make it even taller. I made them stop when I could not reach the top standing on a desk. Thank you for this great challenge! We loved it!" (Teacher, West York Area Middle School)
"Seeing my children working together and discussing options for hours in a civil manner was very refreshing!" (Parent, Homeschool)
"My favorite part of this engineering challenge was working together to make the tallest tower even through the difficult moments." (Team Avocado, Freeport Middle School)
"As a teacher I loved watching students find success with this project. It brought out students' strengths in design and building. I'm grateful for the lesson plans included with this contest." (Teacher, Northwood Middle School)
"My first tower was a complete fail! But I kept with it and was so excited I could get something to work! I had so much fun!" (Team Noah, Palmetto Elementary School)
"Seeing students excited about learning and investigating was heart-warming. To see students running to get into class, staying until after the bell, passionate and engaged about learning again is truly magnificent." (Teacher, Macon Middle School)
Continue to Challenge Yourself
Even though the 2021 Fluor Engineering Challenge is over, students can still try their hands at the Tallest Paper Tower engineering activity! Simply follow the online instructions to gather materials, design, build, and test your version of the tallest paper tower.
If you are looking for even more fun engineering challenges, check out the 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 challenges and come back early next year to find out about the 2022 Fluor Engineering Challenge!
If you have questions about the Fluor Challenge, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet the Team of Fluor Engineers who Created the 2021 Fluor Engineering Challenge
Fluor employees who came up with this year's challenge include engineers (from left to right) Paul Mazur, David Clarke, David Hosking, and Sean Swearns.
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. Paul Mazur, David Clarke, David Hosking, and Sean Swearns, four engineers from Fluor's Greenville, South Carolina office, are the inspiration behind the 2021 Fluor Engineering Challenge. When they sat down to design the challenge, David, Paul, David, and Sean wanted to pay tribute to a tower-shaped baseball monument scheduled to be built in Greenville. What they developed is an engineering challenge based on the best way to construct a tower with limited materials. Science Buddies' staff scientists took this core idea and simplified it for a K-12 audience.Fluor is a registered service mark of Fluor Corporation. All rights reserved.