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Up for a challenge

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Bryce Sward (left), Kali Scoeck (center) and Brooke Flynn (right), eighth-grade students from Osakis, focus on positioning their prototype so it can grasp and move a wooden block. (Beth Leipholtz / Osakis Reivew)2 / 2

The goal was simple: pick up a block and move it to different colored areas laid out on a mat, each worth a different amount of points.

The method, however, was a little more difficult.

On Wednesday, Feb. 24, eighth-grade students from nine area schools, including Osakis, gathered in the gymnasium at Alexandria Technical and Community College to construct a prototype — powered by fluid — that was capable of picking up the blocks and moving them.

The competition was part of the Fluid Power Action Challenge, which is designed to teach students about use of fluids under pressure to generate, control and transmit power.

"The goal is to pick up the block and move it as many degrees as you can," said Daniel Larson, hydraulics instructor at the college. "It's also based on time. You can actually score better by going a short distance more often. This year, 75 percent of them (the student teams) have been able to move the block and last year we didn't have any."

According to Larson, teachers from area schools were also educated on the manufacturing industry as a whole.

"We take the teachers and bring them off site and have an industry tour," he said. "This year we did Alexandria Industries. They were able to see how high-tech and how good of jobs are available in the manufacturing sector. Now these teachers can go back to the schools and help perpetuate that."

Beth Leipholtz

Beth is a reporter at the Echo Press. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in May 2015 with a degree in Communication and Hispanic Studies. Journalism has always been her passion, but she also enjoys blogging and graphic design. In her spare time, she's most likely at Crossfit or at home with her boyfriend and three dogs.

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