Spectrum MS wins 2015 Fluid Power Challenge

Annual student competition draws record number of middle school teams in its 14-year history.

0 May 22, 2015
by Design Engineering staff

The 2015 Canadian Fluid Power Challenge winning team from Spectrum Alternative Senior School: (from left) Ben Page, Russell Fenton, Ms. JoAnne Murray, Rayne Fisher-Quann, Yoon-Ji Kweon.

The 2015 Canadian Fluid Power Challenge winning team from Spectrum Alternative Senior School: (from left) Ben Page, Russell Fenton, Ms. JoAnne Murray, Rayne Fisher-Quann, Yoon-Ji Kweon.

The Canadian Fluid Power Association (CFPA) announced this week that a record number of middle school student teams took part in the Toronto edition of the industry association’s Fluid Power Challenge this year. In total, 19 West Toronto middle schools fielded four-student gender-balanced teams to the annual competition, which tasked students to design and build fluid-power mechanisms for placing a cylindrical object on a stepped platform. The number of pick-and-place cycles a school’s machine completed in the demonstration time along with a grade for the quality of its design portfolio determined the winners of the competition.

A partnership of the CFPA and the Toronto District School Board, the Challenge is intended to provide Grade 8 students with hands-on experience building a mechanism with real world applicability and to open their eyes to the world of technology careers and, in particular, careers in fluid power.

“While there are a lot of science and technology activities in today’s schools, we think our Challenge is especially effective because it is a two-day event spread over three weeks,” says Steve Rogers who acts as facilitator for the Challenge. “This gives the students time to do a proper job of documenting their design process which we feel is a skill just as important as being able to build a functioning device.”

At this year’s event, held at Scarlett Heights Entrepreneurial Academy in Etobicoke, 12 of the 19 schools successfully demonstrated their devices by completing at least one “hands-off” cycle while the remaining six teams were able to achieve combinations of rotating or elevating their devices or gripping the cylinder. In the end, however, there were two winners. Spectrum Alternative Senior School took the overall award based on how well their device performed and the quality of their portfolio. The students from Beaumonde Heights Junior Middle School won for best portfolio, which was awarded for the first time this year.

At a minimum, the organizers hope the Challenge will encourage students to select more mathematics and science courses in their high school curricula to keep their options open for technology-based post-secondary studies. The Toronto edition of the Canadian Fluid Power Challenge began in 2001 as the Hilltop Challenge. This year marked its return after a two-year hiatus due to issues beyond the control of the organizers.
www.cfpa.ca


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