The Future City is an American national project-based competition for kids in the 6th, 7th and the 8th grades. The competition tests the kids’ ability to apply their imagination to design and build cities of the future. Teams of students work with an educator as well as an engineer who acts as their mentor to plan cities. SimCity software is used for this planning. The students also do research and pen down a solution to an engineering problem. Part of their activities involves building scale models of their future cities using recycled materials. Their concepts are then presented before judges at regional levels in January. Those who win the regional competitions will then present their works at the national finals which takes place in Washington D.C in February.
What is the Competition all about?
The Future City competition aims at exposing students to activities that are normally the domains of engineers such as problem identification, brainstorming for solutions to those problems, solution design, testing and retesting their solutions and sharing their results with others. The competition is flexible educational programme and its scope cuts across different curricula. The competition is a hands-on way to teach students modern engineering and problem-solving skills. Specifically, the objectives of the Future City completion are as follows: the application of mathematical and scientific ideas to real problems in the world, the development of communication skills such as writing, public speaking, solution development, and the skill of time management. Others are, how to research and propose solutions to problems that are within the realm of engineering, expose students to different fields in engineering and explore their career options, develop strong ability to work with teams and to understand the workings of their communities so that they can become better citizens.
The beauty of this educational program is that you can actually do Future City without competing. For many years now, the concept of a virtual city has been used by educators and engineers to teach students the objectives that are encapsulated in the Future City competition. These include how to plan a city, develop research and writing skills; how to understand modelling and scaling and how to understand the essential concepts of potential and kinetic energy. You have the option of choosing the complete program or those parts of it that do tally with your career objectives.
How Do I go about the Future City Programme?
First you register your team or teams and learn about team formats. Then you look up the calendar and plan your schedule. Use SimCity software to design your virtual city. You then write your research essay and write a narrative for your virtual city. The next step is to build your model city and finally present it during the trials.