Students from Pacific Middle School participate in ‘Future City’ competition
Story & Photos by Sandy Gady
On Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, six teams from Pacific Middle School participated in the Washington State Future City Regional Competition.
This is a national competition which is part of National Engineering Week held in February each year. Winners of the regional competition receive a trip to Washington, DC, where they compete for the national title.
The team ”Atervinna”, comprised of Josh Willott, Sydney Thomson and Tina Fekade-Tessema, placed 3rd in Washington State from 26 teams and 483 students.
Other teams from Pacific included:
- Renovus, placed 4th, Rebecca Bederliy, Elijah Buenarte, and Robert Turner, won Student’s Choice award
- Henanna, placed 6th, Kennedy Englestad, Alanna Kaiphanliam, and Hope Klingenstein, won Most Complicated Moving part award.
- Benghai, placed 7th, , David Chan, Anthony Nguyen, Joe Pacini and Reuben Ohlenkamp, won Best Community Services award.
- Comaza, placed 15th, Clare Johnson, Levi Thomas, and Hannah Ziegler,
- Oasis, placed 18th, Nate Bezalel, Jack McGrath, and Kaeden Wray, won Best Use of Scale award.
The Future City Competition is a component of the Design and Engineering class at Pacific. The purpose of the project is to introduce students to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, STEM concepts as well as the Career and Technical Education aspect of working successfully in groups, time management and communication skills. Within the project, students have an opportunity to do what engineers do, identify problems; brainstorm ideas; design solutions; test, retest and build; and share their results. Throughout the process there are extensive rubrics available online at www.futurecity.org students use to evaluate their work.
This is the eighth year Pacific has competed in the competition, and the fourth time we have made it to the finals. “We are very proud of Josh, Sydney and Tina as well as their accomplishments. They did an excellent job in their presentation. Sandy Gady, the Design and Engineering teacher commented, “Our teams really took a huge step forward this year. All of their models and essays were exemplary. Their presentations were well thought out and all looked like professionals. Any one of the teams could have made it to the finals and represented us well. While everyone was at lunch, I sat in the room looking down the row of our models, and realized just how hard these students had worked to be there today and it brought tears to my eyes. These are truly accomplished students that gave their all and should be recognized that they are leaders amongst their generation.”
“One of the last things I told Atervinna before they presented was they were not alone. Alongside them on the stage were the members of every other team that has ever been here before them as well as their peers sitting in the audience today,” said Gady. A really big thank you as well to the parents who were there supporting us throughout the day as well as the project. Models will be on display for all to see March 29th at the Science Night being hosted by the Science Department at Pacific.
Future City is a national competition is where teams of middle school students form teams of three to build cities set in the future. The teams are chosen by the students. There are four distinct phases the students go through.
Students begin the competition by using SimCity™4 Deluxe software to create their futuristic city. Within the program, students have to make choices for their virtual city. They identify basic services and features, zoning and city infrastructures and the city location. They also had to complete a project plan as they went through the process of the game, making predictions on goals and growth for their next phase of play.
As team, they are required to research and write a 1,500 word research essay on a topic given nationally to all teams. The topic for this year was, “Waste Not, Want Not,” which included all phases of recycling. The teams choose how the essay is written, but all have to write their share.
Over winter break, students work on their model as teams. These models are constructed at home, using predominantly recycled materials. The physical model should be no larger than 25” x 50” x 20”, and must have at least one moving part. The model should be representative of their virtual design they created in SimCity™4. The model is 3-dimensional and should creatively represent their city in a futuristic manner at least 150 years into the future.
The final phase is the actual team presentation. Students create scripts where they incorporate the highlights of their city, its infrastructure, and the alternative energy sources. This is where the research the students did comes into play. Students have 7minutes to present to a panel of 3 to 5 judges, outlining their city and its energy, transportation and community aspects. Judges then ask students questions for 12 minutes. These questions range from the types of engineering used in the city, to clarifications on how their waste disposal systems work, transportation to and from the city, innovations and futuristic components, to where in the city would you most like to live and why.
“This competition is a wonderful way for our students to showcase all they are capable of doing. There are so many cross-curricular aspects to the project. Technology for building their cities; city planning and geographical location for Social Studies; budgeting and scale for Math; model building for Technology, Art and Math; research, writing, and presentation for Language Arts; time management, public speaking, and communication for Career and Technical Education. Each year our teams get better and better. For many, this is the first time they have ever had a chance to stand in front of a group with a microphone and present, “commented Gady.