Getting Started

Getting them to collaborate together and figure out when to meet and what to do and how to work through challenges together has been a great skill that I think all of my teams have pulled out of this competition.


The goal of the Action Challenge is to not only introduce students to the concepts of engineering and learning by experimentation, but also to show them the value of teamwork and project management.

The NFPA Fluid Power Action Challenge is made up of a Workshop Day and a Challenge Day.

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Workshop Day

On Workshop Day, teams learn about the basics of fluid power – what it is, how it works, and how it is used in everyday life. They also get the chance to learn about what careers in the fluid power industry are like, and how they can start pursuing those. Next, teams build basic pneumatic kits and begin developing the skills they’ll be using in the Action Challenge competition. They start working on machines that rotate and lift objects. Workshop Day wraps up by giving the students the Action Challenge problem – what they are actually tasked with doing at the Challenge. Teams are asked to build a machine that can move an object from one location to another, and are given all of the tools and a kit of supplies that they will need. Over the coming weeks, they develop a plan, and start building!

Challenge Day

On Challenge Day, the teams come together again and use the same tools and an identical kit of supplies to recreate their unique machine, which they use in the competition to pick up weighted objects and place them on various level platforms. Teams are judged on their portfolio, design, teamwork and total machine points. They can win in any of these areas! As the teams work during the allotted time, Challenge Judges observe the teams and interview students, asking them about how they came up with their design and how they work together as a team. When the time is up, the teams all gather together and put their machines to the test. The judges keep score as teams use their machines, seeing how many objects they can move in the allowed time.


Learn more about the Fluid Power Action Challenge event!

blue-circle-infoResources A library of reference materials for event organizers, teachers and students.
blue-circle-clockTimeline A basic timeline that walks through the whole process of organizing a Challenge from start to finish.
Cost Calculator Use this to calculate the estimated cost of hosting an event and find out about resources that are available.
Grants NFPA offers grants to help host your Challenge event. Find out more and apply here!
Getting Buy-In Information and testimonials to help in getting buy-in from your school administration and your students.