The end of 2011 brings a close to another successful year of NFPA Fluid Power Challenge events. Since the program began in the U.S. in 2008, more than 1,500 students in six states have been exposed to fluid power technology. This number will keep growing, as more Challenge events have already been scheduled for next spring.
The Challenge events that took place this fall were sponsored by Deltrol Fluid Products (at Harper College, Palatine, IL); Daman Products Co. Inc. (at Notre Dame University, Notre Dame, IN); and at MSOE—the Milwaukee School of Engineering (Milwaukee, WI).
“Exposing students to fluids and engineering problems is all new to them,” said one middle school teacher in Indiana. “But this exposure is invaluable because they may have gone through life without even knowing the possibilities of fluid power. You have turned on their radar to look for examples of fluid power and engineering in the world around them.”
New this year, the winning team from each location will receive national recognition. A review committee will evaluate the portfolio and two-minute competition video from each winner, and then select those meritorious of special awards.
NFPA Member Uses Challenge to Introduce Fluid Power to Son's Class
Last fall, Andrew Binversie, Manager, Press Series & Light at Bosch Rexroth Corporation bought a few Challenge Lifter Kits and took them to his son’s class at Steffen Middle School in Mequon, WI. Soon after, the students were on their way to learning about fluid power and entering the Fluid Power Challenge at MSOE. One Steffen team went on to win the Design Champion award and another Steffen team won both the Teamwork and Team Challenge Champion awards.*
“The kits really were a huge part of our success at the NFPA Challenge this year,” said Steffen teacher Matthew Heuser (right). “They provided the students with a hands-on learning experience to help them better understand some concepts of fluid power. They are very inexpensive and provide a learning experience in teamwork, fluid power, structures, and proper use of tools and equipment. I will continue to use these kits in my classroom because of the great experience they provide my students and the fun they have in the process of using them.”
What prompted Andrew to buy the kits? He explains “Working for a global leader in fluid power and my eighth grade son in a PLTW program, I was interested in trying to introduce the PLTW students in my son's class to fluid power so they might see a connection
to what they are doing in the classroom to real world opportunities and applications. The NFPA Fluid Power Challenge led me to the "mechanical kits" offered as a practical, hands-on, economical approach to quickly engage and introduce the students into combining their PLTW program experience, basic mechanics and fluid power instruction. These kits were an ideal tool and super economical so I was able to purchase a number of kits for the school. Our middle school will use them for future PLTW enhancements as well as future NFPA Challenge opportunities.”
Would you like to introduce fluid power to your local middle school? Contact Carrie Tatman Schwartz at email@example.com
or (414) 778-3347.
*Coming soon, visit www.nfpafoundation.org
for updates and videos of all the winning teams.