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ESD Michigan Regional Future City Competition

January 23, 2017
Suburban Collection Showplace, Novi, MI

SEE THE WINNERS
TEACHER RESOURCES

What is Future City?

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; complete a project plan, 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?

2016 Essay Topic: The Power of Public Spaces

The single most important ingredient in any city is people. And people need a variety of public spaces throughout their city, both indoors and outdoors, where they can meet, relax, play, learn, connect, share cultures, create community, and build civic identity. When city planners and engineers develop public spaces, they don’t just consider open fields or existing parks and plazas. They look at sites such as abandoned buildings, old railway lines, waterways (rivers, lakes, ponds), former industrial areas, and the single largest land asset in any city—the streets and sidewalks.

Public spaces, both small and large, indoors and outside, not only make an urban area more attractive and more livable but also serve as an anchor that benefits cities in a variety of ways. Many public space projects revitalize a city’s economy by introducing new businesses and bringing in new visitors. Other public space projects help reduce crime, ease traffic congestion, improve pedestrian safety, promote healthy living, improve the environment, and enhance civic engagement.

2017 Challenge:

Design their Future City that includes a distributed network of innovative, multiuse public spaces that serves their city’s diverse population.

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?

Future City restructured its framework to incorporate project management principles and the engineering design process. Teams will work through the stages of the engineering design process and apply specific project management methods to help them complete each of the required competition deliverables.  There are still 5 program deliverables however the point structure has changed:

  1. *Updated! Virtual City: Students design a virtual city using SimCity software and present their city’s progress via a slideshow presentation. Note that teams will not be uploading their actual game file, but rather a PDF slideshow. (48 points)
  2. *Updated! City Essay: Students describe the unique attributes of their city and provide their solution to this year’s The Power of Public Spaces challenge. This 1,500 word essay combines the former Research Essay and City Narrative deliverables. (60 points)
  3. City Model: Students build a physical model of their future city (to scale) using recycled materials. (Note: No change from past years.) (70 points)
  4. City Presentation: Students give a 7-minute presentation about their city followed by a short Q&A session. (Note: no change from past years.) (70 points)
  5. *New! Project Plan: Students complete a project plan to help them plan and organize their project. (10 points)

When is the Competition?

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 Marrs at amarrs@esd.org or 248-353-0735, ext. 121.

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 amarrs@esd.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: 

  1. SimCity Slideshow:  Students design a virtual city using SimCity software and present their city’s progress via a slideshow presentation. A training session will be provided in late November.
  2. City Essay: Students describe the unique attributes of their city and provide their solution to this year’s Waste Not, Want Not challenge. This 1,500 word essay combines the former Research Essay and City Narrative deliverables. The essay and narrative will be judged in mid-December.  No advance training is required, but detailed instructions will be provided.
  3. Models and Team Presentations:  This judging involves attending the ESD Michigan Regional Future City Competition on January 23, 2017, 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.

To volunteer as a judge, sign up on the Future City website (please be sure to choose Michigan as your judge region), or contact Leslie Smith at 248-353-0735, ext. 152.

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.

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?

Check out our Teacher Page here. Additional resources including a program handbook, helpful webinars, and additional resources to research the essay topic, can be found http://futurecity.org/all-resources.


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