Students design cities of the future today
How would you design and build a city of the future that incorporates energy conservation and healthy living?
That challenge was laid on the table for students in grades six through eight across southeastern Idaho as part of the annual Future City Competition held in conjunction with National Engineering Week. The theme for this year’s event was “Fuel the Future.”
Twenty-nine middle school teams from throughout the region assembled Saturday (Jan. 21) at Boise State University to share creative and unique visions of how cities of tomorrow might look and operate.
ITD is among the sponsoring organizations that support the regional competition. The department collaborated with the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council (LHTAC) to sponsor the Best Future City Project Charter.
The award is for the most comprehensive charter that clearly defines what needs to be accomplished on the project, the project budget and a schedule for completion of the work. Emmett Junior High School’s team was selected winner of the ITD/LHTAC award for its entry “NeWellington” project charter.
Paul Steinman, chief operations officer, was one of the “celebrity” judges for final presentations. Other ITD staff served as judges, mentors or helped run the competition, co-sponsored by BSU’s College of Engineering and the Southern Idaho Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The Future City Competition is a national, project-based learning experience. Students work as a team with an educator and engineer mentor to plan cities using SimCity™ 4 Deluxe software. They also research and write solutions to an engineering problem; build tabletop scale models with recycled materials; and present their ideas in front of judges at regional competitions.
Students research and write an essay (maximum 1,000 words) in which they choose one energy source and design a way to generate electric power for their city that does not deplete natural resources and has limited impact on the environment.
Homedale Middle School’s R.A.I.N. (Recyclable, Alternative, Innovative, Innovative Neighborhood) won the eighth annual regional event. The group also captured special awards for the Best Virtual City and Best Management of Water Resources.
“We try to promote careers in science, technology, engineering and math,” said Lynn Olsen of the BSU engineering college. The purpose, she explained, it to encourage young students to consider careers in science and math.
Photos: ITD Chief Operations Officer Paul Steinman and former ITD engineer Karrisa Hardy share the spotlight with students from Lake Hazel Middle School (top). Students present the engineering theories behind their future cities and answered questions from judges (above, photos courtesy of the Idaho Statesman).