For the past two years, we’ve been invited to attend the Future City Competition here in DC.
Last year, only Maddy and I attended (It was the very same day our chicks hatched! Ahhhh, memories–), but this year, the whole family got in on the fun.
Future City is a middle school engineering competition; this year over 40,000 students from around the world competed. It’s really a super-cool event that I love attending with my kids.
And I’d love to see more families encouraging their schools to get involved because it’s easy for students of all backgrounds to participate in and the payoffs are huge.
We’re inspiring future engineers! Giving kids a chance to solve real-life engineering problems! Teamwork! Collaboration!
It’s all awesome.
Here’s the skinny. . .
Future City–Middle School Competition Inspires Future Engineers:
My kids are not yet old enough to actually participate in the Future City Competiton, but that doesn’t matter.
I love bringing them to the event because they get to see first-hand what other kids, just a little bit older than they are, have worked so hard to create.
And they don’t only get to walk around passively; rather, spectators are encouraged to ask the groups questions, to interact with them, and to really learn a bit while there. I love it.
Check out a bit about Future City:
Here are some photos from our Future City adventure. Huge thanks to my three little photographers for taking such great pictures through the day!
Some Future City fun facts:
- More than 40,000 students from 1,350 middle schools are participating nationwide in the regional competitions.
- Future City, a STEM program, is reaching girls and underserved students
- 46% of participants are girls;
- 33% of participating schools have 50% or more of their students enrolled in the reduced or free lunch program.
- Future City is a program of DiscoverE, a consortium of professional and technical societies and major U.S. corporations.
- Student teams, led by an educator and volunteer mentor, research and design a solution to a city-wide challenge that changes each year.
Each Future City team must do several things:
- design a virtual city using the latest SimCity software;
- write a 1,000 word essay outlining their solution to the given problem;
- create 500-word city narrative describing their city of the future;
- design a model of their city to scale with at least one-moving part, using mostly recycled materials and staying within a $100 budget,
- impress the judges in only 7 minutes by showcasing what they’ve learned and what their city is all about.
Everything you need is at your fingertips.
The Future City website has literally everything you need to start a project and a team right there.
If you’re a homeschooling family, a public school or private school family–it doesn’t matter. If you’re a part of a nationally, regionally, or state-recognized youth-focused organization, like Boy or Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, or 4-H, you could form a team. I think it’d be a really cool focus for a group like this.
Guess what? This week is Engineers Week (February 22-28, 2015), so perhaps it’s a good time to explore the DiscoverE site.
And Girl Day is February 26th:
And if you miss these two events, no worries!
The DiscoverE site has Upcoming Events shared and updated regularly. There’s probably something near you in the next few months.
Want a few at-home STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) ideas to try before you try Future City for yourself? Check out:
- GoldieBlox for smart girls–read, create, and learn
- candy experiments
- raising kids who can rock it in the kitchen
- everyday math
- homemade light table and the wonder of water beads
- simple, everyday ways to raise kids who love science
- LEGO baseball: creative game for kids, by kids
fyi: My friends at Blogalicious bLink and DiscoverE invited my family to attend Future City and share our experience. As always, my opinions and ideas are all my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator.