Future City 2011
Future City Team Advances to Nationals
Eight middle school students recently participated in the Future City Chicago Regional Competition at the University of Illinois—Chicago. The competition took place on January 29th, 2011, but preparation for the competition began in September.
The National Engineers Week Future® City Competition is an example of real-life, problem based learning. More than 33,000 students from 1,000 middle schools in 35 regions across the country participated in the Future City regional competitions, teaming up with engineer mentors to share their visions of cities of tomorrow. The theme of this year’s competition is “Providing a Reliable and Effective Health Care System that Improves a Sick, Injured or Disabled Patient’s Quality of Life and Comfort.” The competition involves several different types of learning experiences. Students are required to do the following:
• Create a computer city using Sim City Software.
• Write an essay about a topic that will affect our future.
• Write a city narrative describing the best features of the futuristic city.
• Design a three-dimensional scale model using a portion of the Sim City as a guide.
• Create a performance to present the future city.
• Answer questions and share performance with engineers for evaluation.
On January 29th students met at the University of Illinois - Chicago to exhibit their models. More than 40 professional engineers questioned the teams about various aspects of their cities, and another 60 architects-engineers were involved in the special award judging. Entries were judged on creativity, city layout, and attractiveness.
Two teams from the St. Clair Challenge program participated in Future City Chicago competition this year. Mrs. Hawkins said, “I was very impressed with my students’ professionalism, perseverance, and confidence throughout all aspects of the competition! The National Engineers' Week Future City Competition is a great way to use problem solving skills, teamwork, public speaking, and creativity!
The 8th grade team named their city Calamazoo, and their essay focused on curing Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever, a disease that originated in Africa. The team members were Abbi Montgomery, Sarah Hinson, and Kirsten Krier. Their model contained several moving parts including wind turbines and pod cars. The Calamazoo City won two special awards during preliminary judging:
• Environmental Award—Sponsored by the Illinois Section ASCE-Environmental Engineering & Water Resources Group
• Excellence in Transportation, Safety, and Operations—Sponsored by the Institute of Transportation Engineers Illinois Section
The 7th grade team named their city Saludable, which means “healthy” in Spanish. Their city was nestled in Venezuela, and their essay focused on curing Huntington’s disease, which is predominant in Venezuela. Their model contained several moving parts including a Ferris Wheel, waterfall, helicopter, and wind turbines. The Saludable City also won two special awards during preliminary judging:
• Best Future CityPromotion—Sponsored by The Society for Marketing Professional Services
• Most Inclusive Community Promoting Work-Life Balance—Sponsored by The Chicago Regional Section of the Society of Women Engineers
Both teams scored in the top five, but only one team per district is allowed to present in the final round; Saludable was chosen to present in the final round on stage. During the Saludable presentation, Doctor Shayla Hinson explained the Saludable health care system to her intern, Sydney Stahlman. They then both visited their first patient, Mikaela Drewel, who was being treated for Huntington’s disease. Since Huntington’s disease patients often suffer memory loss, the doctor and intern described their healthy city to Mikaela as she began to remember all the great things about her city.
The Saludable team placed first in the Chicago region and will be advancing to the 19th Annual Future City National Finals competition, scheduled February 18-22, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. Their engineering mentor, Ronald Kadane, Mrs. Hawkins, and several parents will be flying with the Saludable team to DC to support the 7th grade students at the national competition. While in Washington D.C., students will also have the opportunity to tour the city and historical sites and museums.
The National Finals Grand Prize winners will receive a trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. The second and third prize winners receive $5,000 and $2,000 scholarships for their schools’ technology programs.
The future city teams and their teacher, Mrs. Hawkins, would like to thank many people for helping make this opportunity possible. They’d like to thank their engineering mentor, Ronald Kadane, for his continuous support. This is the third year that Mr. Kadane has mentored the Future City Teams from our district. They’d also like to thank the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers for their generous donation of $300. This is the third year MSPE has made donations to this project, and their contributions are greatly appreciated. They’d like to thank everyone who attended their trivia night which raised approximately $1,200 for their trip. Finally, the teams would like to thank the school board, administration, Junior High teachers, parents of team members, and the Missourian for their support and encouragement throughout this competition.
Mrs. Hawkins said, “The Saludable team is looking forward to representing our school district, city, state, and region in the Future City National Competition in Washington D.C.!”
“This competition taught me a lot about engineering. I enjoyed building the model and writing the script for the presentation. I’m really excited to meet kids from all over the country and compete nationally!”
“The Chicago engineering competition was a great learning and eye-opening experience. I got to explore my creativity while investing in my future career. I can’t wait until I get to go to nationals.
“I learned a lot about engineering and architecture preparing for this competition. I had fun and it is definitely something I’ll look forward to again next year.”