As global urban populations rise, energy and climate change issues are increasingly prevalent. Thus, the demand for creating transportation solutions that are quick, safe, reliable and sustainable has never been more urgent.
Throughout the world, a person’s ability to function and contribute to society is reliant on his or her capacity to mobilize, whether by air, foot, car, bike or public transit.
More than 40,000 middle school students from 1,350 schools in 37 regions nationally have been tasked with Tomorrow’s Transit: Design A Way To Move People In And Around Your City, figuring out those much-needed solutions for DiscoverE’s 2013-14 Future City Competition.
Since returning to school in the fall, student teams have been hard at work on their Future City projects and preparing for regional finals in January 2014.
First-place winners from each qualifying regional competition receive a trip to the Future City Competition National Finals in Washington, D.C., February 15-18, 2014 during Engineers Week.
The national grand prize is $7,000 for the team’s school or after-school’s STEM program and a trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.
In Central Pennsylvania, there are approximately 37 teams competing in the Future City Competition Regional Finals, which will be held on January 25, 2014 at the Pennsylvania State Museum.
Future City has received national attention and acclaim for its role in encouraging middle schoolers nationwide to develop their interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The annual challenge is one of the nation’s leading engineering education programs and among the most popular.
Led by an educator and engineer mentor, students learn the basics of city planning and management as they design a virtual city using SimCity software. Via the research essay, the students delve deeper into a citywide issue.
This year’s question asks them to review the transportation options and needs of their own city, create viable ideas that consider safety, accessibility, intermodality and sustainability in an effort to reimagine a better and more efficient city. From there, each team builds a physical model of their city using recycled materials costing no more than $100.
Along the way, the students also learn about the engineering disciplines that encompass their solutions, including learning and identifying the steps of the design process.For more information on judging or mentoring, visit the Future City Competition website.