Future City Competition Showcases Young Engineering Talent By: Dan Murphy March 19, 2013 Last month I served as a judge for the Chicago Region’s Future City Competition. The competition is a national, project-based learning experience in which middle school students and an assigned mentor use software, scale models, and recycled materials to plan and build a table top city set 150 years in the future based on a certain theme. The students then present their ideas to a set of judges. The winners then advance to the National Finals in Washington DC.
The theme of the event this year was water conservation. Students did all of the research regarding materials, systems, designs, etc. They were also given free reign to choose where the city is geographically located, as long as they have a reason for the location (for example: this city location would help lower pollution in the area).
As a judge for the event, I was very impressed by the hard work and interest displayed by the young participants. Every student thoroughly understood their topic, model, and presentation. They dedicated themselves to understanding their cities and researching ways their city could conserve water. I found the experience extremely rewarding and enjoyed seeing how the students appreciated each piece of advice they were given. By observing the dedication of such young people, I have hope for the future of engineering.
If you have any interest in the program and enjoy working with kids, I really encourage volunteering your time for next year’s competition. This year, many schools participated without mentors. Visit Future City Competition to learn more about utilizing your expertise to help encourage young students towards a career in engineering.