Middle School students earned top honors at the National Fluid Power Challenge, "a math and science competition designed to connect today's students to tomorrow's fluid power careers," according to the National Fluid Power Association's website.
Teams of students from all over the area spent two days at Carlynton Middle School learning about fluid power and building basic pneumatic kits. On the second day, they used their newly acquired skills and knowledge to create unique machines that can pick up and maneuver weighted objects.
As teams worked during the allotted time, a panel of judges observed the teams and interviewed students about their design process and collaborative efforts. Then, teams gathered to test their machines, and judges kept score.
Eighth graders Brooke Dycewski, Samantha Fredrick, Hannah McAleer and Grace McMillen made up Chartiers Valley Middle School's Team 1, under Mr. McAleer's guidance. CV Team 1 earned top scores and placed first overall.
Team 2, the seventh grade team coached by Mr. Chad Warren, won the Best Design Award. Team 2 was represnted by Shannon Fleckenstein, Madison Mincin, Caitlin O'Farrell and Delaney Rodella.
The National Fluid Power Association challenges provide students with real-life experience in hydraulics, pneumatics and engineering. The benefits of the program go beyond a deep understanding of fluid power, though. Students develop problem solving, team building and other soft skills for success beyond Middle School and into adulthood.