Article by: Joe Pohl
Video by: Dominic West
Each year, Perry Middle School STEM teacher, Mrs. Blanche Davidson energizes her 8th grade students with the prospect of sharing their creative thoughts about what a future city might look like. The annual Future City Competition is the place to do just that.
Future City engages more than 40,000 middle school students throughout the United States and abroad in a program designed to increase students’ motivation and excitement about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
Future City starts with a question—how can we make the world a better place? To answer it, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future that showcase their solution to a citywide sustainability issue. Past topics include stormwater management, urban agriculture, public spaces, and green energy. The 2017-2018 theme is The Age-Friendly City. Teams were asked to identify an age-related challenge that exists in today's urban environments and engineer two innovative solutions that allow their future city's senior citizens to be as active and independent as they want to be.
Participants were required to complete a virtual city design (using SimCity), a 1,500-word city essay, a scale model, a project plan, and give a presentation to judges at Regional Competitions in January.
Four Perry Middle School teams competed internally for the chance to be the one that would go to the regional contest in Columbus. The winning team included 8th graders, Jacob Brass, Ethan Hicks, Max Mascarenhas, and Erin McGregor. The team placed first in the categories of Best Use of Water Resource Engineering, Best Land Surveying Practices, Best Use of Transportation, and Best Essay, along with a second place in Best Architectural Model.