Challenge to Design a Solution to a Complex Problem
Students who enter the Fluor Engineering Challenge have the chance to explore firsthand what it means to be an engineer and to collaborate with others to solve a problem and improve a solution. The Fluor Challenge is open to students in kindergarten through grade 12. More than 4,300 students from 10 countries participated in the 2019 competition hosted by the nonprofit Science Buddies. Students were challenged to create a volleyball machine consisting of two devices, separated by a paper net, which could launch and return a ping-pong ball. They brainstormed and built innovative solutions out of simple materials, such as cups, rubber bands, paper, tape, and craft sticks. Striving to minimize the materials used and maximize the number of successful back-and-forth volleys required iterative problem solving and persistence. All eligible team entries were placed into random prize drawings based on geographic location. The names of 20 winning teams were drawn from the eligible pools. Each of these teams earned $1,000 USD from Fluor for their school, organization, or afterschool program.
Deadline: The 2020 challenge will be announced in January; visit the website for details.
The Museum of Science, Boston, develops exhibits, programs, and curricula that empower children to become lifelong STEM learners and passionate problem solvers. The museum offers seven engineering curricula (preK–12): “We Engineer,” “EiE for Kindergarten,” “Engineering is Elementary,” “Engineering Adventures,” “Engineering Everywhere,” “Building Math,” and “Engineering the Future.
Electronics company RS Components in the UK has launched Imagine-X, a series of free curriculum-aligned resources that link STEM subjects to real people who have used their skills to make the world a better place—to broaden horizons, empower the disadvantaged, and diversify life choices.
Every year EngineerGirl hosts a writing contest to encourage students in grades 3–12 to investigate how engineering shapes their world. The competition is intended to spark discussion and activities that can enhance or extend the material already in the curriculum.