Jump to main content

Build a Ball Run with The Longest Path Time for a Chance to Win $1,000

Can you build a ball ramp out of just paper and tape? How can you make the ball's path take as many seconds as possible to complete? Give this challenge a try, and you might win one of ten $1,000 USD prizes for your school, afterschool program, or a nonprofit in your community!

 Tape and paper shown along with a sketch and real-life model of a ball run, built from paper, that zig-zags until it reaches the ground.

Enter the 2022 Fluor Engineering Challenge for K-12 Students

What do I do? Build a ball run out of just paper and tape. See how many seconds it takes for a ping-pong (table tennis) ball to travel from the start to the end of the paper ball run. The longer it takes and the fewer materials used, the higher your score. Finish building and testing your ball run and submit photos and your score before the March 20, 2022 deadline to enter the contest.

Fluor Challenge 2022

Full details, including the building, testing, and scoring procedures, can be found in these four formats:

Who can enter? The 2022 Fluor Engineering Challenge is open to all K-12 students (primary through upper secondary school) worldwide. Students can enter individually or as a team of up to four students. Only one entry per team is allowed. There is no limit to the number of teams that can enter per family, school, afterschool program, or community organization. The more teams that enter from a school/organization, the greater the chance of the school/organization winning a prize! Students may be part of more than one team, but each team must submit a different design.

When is the challenge taking place? Students may build and test their paper ball runs anytime now through March 20, 2022. Entries may be submitted from February 20, 2022 through March 20, 2022. All entries must be submitted by midnight Pacific Time (GMT-8) on March 20, 2022.

Where is the challenge happening? Students can do this challenge anywhere! The 2022 Fluor Engineering Challenge is designed as a fun, hands-on engineering project for the classroom, at home, or as part of a community event.

How much does it cost to enter? Nothing! This contest is completely free.

Are there prizes? Yes! Students, this is your chance to earn money for your school or, if you are not participating through school, a nonprofit organization of your choice! All prizes are awarded based on random drawings. Every team entry that follows all the challenge rules and comes from an eligible location (see Table) will be entered into a random prize drawing for that location. In total, Fluor Corporation is providing ten $1,000 USD prizes. The prizes will be distributed directly to the school or nonprofit organizations.

Locations Eligible for Prizes* Type Prizes to be Awarded
United States
(entire, including Puerto Rico)
Random Drawing 3
Additional prizes for US available in:
  • Houston, TX
  • Greenville, SC
  • Orange County, CA
Random Drawing 1 each
South Africa
The Netherlands
United Kingdom
Random Drawing 3
Additional prize for Canada available in:
  • Calgary, Alberta
Random Drawing 1

Students who live in one of the specific city, county, or province locations listed will also be entered in the country-level drawing for their location.

Students from countries not listed above are eligible to compete in the Fluor Challenge and submit results for the official scoreboard but are not eligible for the Fluor prizes.

To qualify to receive a $1,000 USD prize, an organization must be classified as a U.S. 501(c)3 public charity, a public or private primary or secondary school, or an international nonprofit or non-government charity with a valid registration number. The organization must be located in one of the geographic regions where Fluor operates a community relations program (see Table). An organization may enter as many teams as they desire in the 2022 Fluor Challenge. Each entry increases an organization's odds of winning, but an organization may only win a total of one prize.

How do I enter? To enter the 2022 Fluor Engineering Challenge, design, build, test, and photograph your paper ball run. Then use our web-based submission form to enter all of the information listed below by midnight Pacific Time (GMT-8) on March 20, 2022. The online entry form makes entering scores from many teams simple and makes sharing your submissions with friends and peers via social media a snap. Entries may be made directly by students, teachers, parents, or other responsible adults.

Be sure your entry contains all information listed above and follows all rules of the challenge. Only complete entries from the eligible locations will be entered in the random drawings for the $1,000 USD prizes. All completed submissions will be considered for the official 2022 Fluor Challenge scoreboard.

What if I build a high-scoring ball run? Then you get major bragging rights! At the end of the challenge, teams with the top scores for elementary, middle school, and high school, will be featured on a scoreboard published on the Science Buddies website. Teams from all locations (even those not eligible for random prize drawings) can compete to be featured on the scoreboard!

Can we mention the challenge on social media? Absolutely! We'd love to see you share your student creations and videos on social media. Tag your posts with #FluorChallenge so others can see them. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Who do I contact if I have questions? If you have questions, please read our Paper Ball Run FAQ. If your question is still unanswered, please email us at fluorchallenge@sciencebuddies.org.

Meet the Team of Fluor Engineers who Inspired the 2022 Fluor Engineering Challenge

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. Emeric Naseman, Tom Wooley, Linh Nguyen, and David Glasscock, four engineers from Fluor's Houston, Texas office, are the inspiration behind the 2022 Fluor Engineering Challenge. For their fellow engineers they designed a challenge to build a device that accurately measured one minute. After watching some of the great solutions, Science Buddies' staff scientists realized that a subset of the solutions involved giving an object a set path to travel along for a minute. From this, the idea of trying to create a ball run that took the longest time to complete was born and made into the 2022 Fluor Engineering Challenge for K-12 students. [Fun fact: Tom and Linh were also part of the winning team that inspired the 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge.]

Three male and one female engineers standing around a three-foot-tall paper tower balancing a baseball on top.
Fluor engineers Emeric, Tom, Linh, and David (from left to right) in a group photo after winning the 2021 Fluor Friendly Competition.

Curious what it is like to be an engineer? Read our interviews with Emeric, Tom, Linh, and David to learn how they became engineers, what they love about their jobs, and their recommendations for students interested in engineering.

Fluor is a registered service mark of Fluor Corporation. All rights reserved.
Free science fair projects.