COLUMBUS — What will it take to engineer cities in the future? Ohio seventh- and eighth-grade students from Anna Middle School are examining this question by participating in the National Engineers Week Future City Competition on Saturday, Jan. 14, at Columbus State Community College in Columbus.
What began in 1992 as a model project to encourage math and science skills and lay the foundation for a career in engineering has become the nation’s largest engineering education program. This year, more than 120 students from 25 schools around Ohio will create future cities, complete with 3-D models, using SimCity software.
The Future City Competition introduces students to different engineering fields, such as civil, electrical, chemical, agricultural, biomedical, mechanical and computer software and hardware engineering. Competing also gives students a chance to improve their writing, public speaking, teamwork, time management, problem-solving and new computer skills.
With the help of their teacher adviser Gina Gehret and a local engineering mentor, the Anna Middle School team built a model of a city of the future, wrote abstract descriptions and addressed an essay on the topic of mass transit and developing new ideas on how to move large volumes of people around a big city. Considering global urban populations are expanding while new energy concerns are emerging, future cities need new transportation solutions that are quick, reliable and sustainable.
Teams are eligible to compete for medals and awards in a variety of categories including: infrastructure, recreation, transportation, use of recycled materials, use of water resources, engineering, most insurable city, rookie of the year and people’s choice. The Ohio regional competition is sponsored in part by PPG Industries, CSCC, Ohio EPA, HDR (Henningson, Durham and Richardson), Ohio University’s Russ College of Engineering and others.
The Ohio region winning team (three students, teacher and engineering mentor) receives an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., to participate in the national finals Feb. 21-23.
The Future City Competition is a national, not-for-profit education program. Across the country, more than 30,000 students from 1,100 schools are participating in the 2014 competition. For more information contact Future City Ohio at www.futurecity.org/ohio.