Greener Future Cities As Imagined by Middle Schoolers

Future City 2016

This post is sponsored by DiscoverE

This past Sunday at the National Future City competition, I met our future engineers and scientists. Middle school students from all over the United States (plus one group from China) presented models representing their vision of our future’s green cities. These kids are not just smart but majorly creative.

Recycled materials in Future City 2016 models

Future City encourages a group of students to work with a teacher and/or mentor to design a virtual city using SimCity software. Working as a team, they built cities based on this year’s theme of Waste Not, Want Not theme. Once they’ve designed their virtual city and written an essay about their green solutions, they build a model. To further inspire creativity, their tabletop model must be made with recycled materials costing no more than $100. As you can see from the photos, the students rocked the challenge.

Future City 2016 in Upcycled Fashion

Envisioning a green city is more than just creating a virtual one. Students have to use science and engineering to expand or create technology and systems to manage solid waste in their city. I love how these girls from New York City turns garbage to “evolage,” where everything is given a second life. They created dresses out of “garbage” to illustrate their idea.

Future City 2016 Close up Urban Farms

Besides waste management, students designed living spaces, green transportation, clean energy, work spaces and even museums and churches. They put a lot of thought into their cities and models. Some models even had lights, fans, and moving parts!

Future City 2016

Did you know your middle schooler can join next year’s competition? Details on how to get started are on the Future City website.  The cost to participate is only $25! Future City also provides training and support for the teacher mentors. Regional winners receive a free trip to Washington, DC to participate in the national competition.  The grand prize team wins a trip to Space Camp and a cash prize for their school’s STEM program. Who doesn’t want to go to Space Camp?

Both of my kids were fascinated by the Future Cities I saw. They both want careers in science or engineering and I hope they’ll participate in a Future City competition when they’re old enough.

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