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. Regional winners go on to represent their region at the national competition in Washington, DC, in February.
What Is This Year’s Theme?
2014 Essay Topic: Tomorrow’s Transit- Design A Way To Move People In And Around Your City.
Thousands of years ago we had only one way to move—on foot. In today’s cities there are lots of ways to get around, including bikes, cars, mass transit (like buses, trains, subways, and ferries), escalators, and walkways. Engineers design solutions like these to transport people quickly, safely, and using the least amount of energy. But with so many people on the move, there are bound to be safety problems (like crashes), environmental impacts (like air pollution), and health impacts (like long commutes). Whatever the size and location of your future city, you’ll need to think creatively to keep people moving. Your challenge: Identify a problem of moving people in your future city and design a mode of transportation to solve this problem.
Students will research and write an essay (maximum 1,000 words) in which they design a way to move people in and around your city.
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 15–19, 2014.
When is the Competition?
The Michigan Regional Future City Competition will take place January 27, 2014, at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Mich. In February, the winning team from each region competes at the national finals in Washington, DC. Michigan's first-place team will receive an all expense-paid trip for the teacher, mentor and three presenting students to Washington, DC, to compete in the finals.
What Role Does the Volunteer Mentor Play?
The 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 to serve as mentors. This includes 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 Allison Marrsat firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-353-0735, ext. 121.
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 27, 2014, 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.
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.
Does Future City Align With National Standards?
Future City aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards, Benchmarks for Science Literacy and the International Society for Technology in Education’s National Education and Technology Standards. You can view all of the standards here: http://futurecity.org/standards.
Where Can I Find Additional Resources About The Competition?