The CFPA began co-sponsoring Local Fluid Power Challenges in 2001 when the first Hilltop Challenge was held in west Toronto in conjunction with the Toronto District School Board. These have continued annually as the Toronto edition of the Canadian Fluid Power Challenge.
In 2006, working with the Edmonton School Board, the CFPA held the first Strathcona Challenge involving several local schools. That Challenge continued until 2009 when staff changes and economic conditions in our industry led to its discontinuation.
Local FP Challenges typically involve up to 25 teams of Grade 7 and/or 8 students, each team with four students. They take place over two days, the Workshop Day and the Challenge Day, usually separated by three weeks. Both events take place at the same host site which can be a school, college or sponsoring company.
The Workshop Day reinforces the students’ knowledge of fluid power concepts, introduces them to the tools and materials they will use to build a device and gives them some practice building simple fluid power devices. At the end of the Workshop Day, the teams are introduced to the Challenge Scenario.
During the intervening three weeks, the teams (using out-of-class time) design a device that will solve the problem presented by the Scenario, build prototypes, test and fine-tune them, and finally document their design process in a Design Portfolio.
On the Challenge Day, the students build their devices from scratch, fine-tune their designs and construction and demonstrate their devices to all in attendance. Their design portfolios are also reviewed by the judges. The overall winner is graded on the performance of their device and the quality of their portfolio; an additional award is given to the team with the best portfolio.
We have received very positive comments from teachers and students on our Local Fluid Power Challenge and, in fact, it has been used as a template by the National Fluid Power Association in the USA for a growing number of competitions held south of the border. More than 1000 American students now take part in these challenges annually.
How to Get Started on Your Own Local Challenge
If you are considering organizing a Fluid Power Challenge locally, please contact the CFPA at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
You can also get a better idea of what is involved by reviewing the material on the Resources page