Worried about the future of our cities and transportation systems?
Then consider chatting with a seventh- or eighth-grade student who participated in Idaho’s third regional National Engineers Week Future City Competition™ on Jan. 6 to get a most-welcomed perspective.
While conventional wisdom offers no shortage of doomsday scenarios for the years to come, middle school students are taking a hard look at the future and are determined to make it better.
The Future City Competition, celebrating its 15th anniversary nationwide, asked middle school students to design cities of tomorrow, first on computer using SimCity software and then in large tabletop models.
Students also were asked to research and write an essay on “Developing an energy strategy using fuel cells to power a city of the future.” This month, students presented their models and defended their designs before multiple panels of judges. More than seventy local engineers from the community, including three ITD employees, volunteered to evaluate the clever futuristic cities.
More than 100 students from 17 schools and four states (Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington) comprised the 30 teams that participated in this year’s Idaho regional competition.
The winning team, Zeymous from Flathead Valley Montessori Academy (Kalispell, Mont.), received an all-expense-paid trip to the Future City National Finals in Washington, D.C. scheduled for next month during Engineers’ Week.
Ten additional awards, sponsored by local firms, were presented to other participating teams for having exceptional innovations in their cities such as the Best Integration in Design, Most Innovative Design of Infrastructure Systems, and Best Project Team.
Sponsored in part by the National Engineers Week Foundation, the Future City Competition is the largest and most successful education program of its kind.
The hands-on applications of math and science often spark newfound interest among students, leading them to consider engineering solutions to some of the world’s most intractable problems, including pollution.
The competition sets enough parameters to make the lessons in math and science real, but within those parameters, the students are only limited by their imaginations.
2007 ITD Future City volunteers
Stephen Loop, QPL Program Administrator in Highways, who was the funding coordinator on the Idaho Region Steering Committee and judged models on the day of competition, and Erika Stoddard, District 3 EIT, who was the scoring coordinator on the Idaho Region Steering Committee and judged SimCity disk designs.