Future City is a cross-curricular educational program where students in 6th, 7th and 8th grades imagine, design, and build cities of the future. Over four months, students work as a team with an educator and volunteer mentor to design a virtual city using SimCity software; research and write an essay addressing this year’s theme; build a model of their city using recycled materials; write a brief narrative promoting their city; and present their city before a panel of judges at a Regional Competition in January.
Along the way students apply math and science concepts to real-world problems, flex their problem-solving skills, develop good teamwork habits, explore engineering and its many career options, and become better citizens.
The Michigan Regional Future City Competition is part of a national program sponsored by the National Engineers Week Committee, and is coordinated by The Engineering Society of Detroit. National Engineers Week seeks to increase public awareness and appreciation of the engineering profession and technology by emphasizing the engineer’s positive contributions to society.
Who can participate?
The Michigan Regional Future City Competition is open to Michigan students in grades 6th, 7th, and 8th who are from the same school, a home school environment (a Home School Affidavit form will need to be completed), or are members of a nationally, regionally, or state recognized youth-focused organization, such as the Boy or Girl Scouts; Boys and Girls Clubs; 4-H, etc. The competition is team-based and each team consists of at least three students, an educator and a volunteer mentor. A team can include an entire class or as few as three students.
How Does the Competition Work?
The Future City Competition is made up of five components. Teams are judged and scored on each of the components, which include:
Computer Design of Virtual City using SimCity Software
Physical Model of Future City
Team Oral Presentation
The computer design, essay, and narrative are all due before the Regional Competition. The model and team presentation are judged at the Regional Competition where scores from all five components will be added together to determine the top team. The 1st place team in each region will advance to the National Finals in Washington, DC, February 15 – 20, 2013.
When is the Competition?
The Michigan Regional Future City Competition will take place January 28, 2013. In February, the winning team from each region competes at the national finals in Washington, DC. Each winning team receives an all expense-paid trip to Washington, DC, to compete in the finals.
What Role Does the Volunteer Mentor Play?
he mentor is an integral part of the Future City team. Serving as the team advisor and advocate for all phases of the program, the mentor provides valuable input and technical assistance. The mentor makes connections to real life engineering experiences, serves as a coach, and helps students translate the academic to the real world of engineering. People who work in the engineering community are preferred, including engineers, technical professionals, architects, and city or urban planners, to serve as mentors.
For more information or to volunteer to serve as a mentor, contact Sue Ruffner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-353-0735, ext. 117.
Why are Judges Needed and What Do They Do?
The role of the judge is to draw on their expertise and resources to fairly judge the teams’ efforts. Judges will be needed to evaluate the following competition projects:
SimCity Designs: Teams submit their city plan that they have designed using SimCity software in mid-November. The SimCity designs will be judged in December and early January. A training session will be provided in late November.
Essays and Narratives: As part of the competition, students write a narrative (maximum 500 words) describing their future city’s key features and design attributes, as well as a 1,000 word essay. The essay and narrative will be judged in mid-December. No advance training is required, but detailed instructions will be provided.
Models and Team Presentations: This judging involves attending the ESD Michigan Regional Future City Competition on January 28, 2013, at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. The training for this phase of judging takes place at 7:30 am the morning of the competition. The actual judging is from 9 – 11 am. At that time, the schools display their model cities and three presenting students from each team give a five-to-seven minute presentation to a panel of judges.
Future City meets the national standards for math, science, and technology education as defined by the Project 2061 Benchmarks for Science Literacy, the National Educational Technology Standards, the Principals and Standards for School Mathematics, and the National Science Education Standards. View standards here: http://futurecity.org/standards.
How Do Teams Register and Is There a Cost?
Educators can register a team at www.futurecity.org or click here: http://futurecity.org/register. There is a $25 registration fee, per organization or school. This fee covers all of an organization or school’s teams, anywhere from one to twenty. Additional costs include the $100 budget for model and presentation supplies. Teams may also incur some travel costs going to the Regional Competition.