FORT WAYNE, Ind.—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. Whatever you do, wherever you go, you need a way to get there. The demand for creating transportation solutions that are quick, safe, reliable and sustainable has always been there, but the solutions are not as easy.
This fall, nearly 1,000 Indiana middle school students joined 40,000 others nationally by participating in the Future City® challenge “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.
The Indiana teams will present their ideas to a panel of experts as they compete in the Indiana Future City® Competition at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), Saturday, January 18. Twenty-seven teams are expected at the Indiana competition. The winning team will advance to the National Future City finals in Washington, D.C., February 15-18, 2014, during National Engineers Week. The national grand prize is $7,000 for the team’s school or after-school STEM program and a trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.
Each year Future City highlights a current issue and challenges students to formulate innovative solutions as they design a virtual 3D map and build a futuristic city model made from recycled materials. The public is invited to view and discuss these models with the teams between 9 and 11:30 a.m. in the Walb Student Union Ballroom. This year’s theme “Tomorrow’s Transit” includes a research essay describing their concept and writing a City Narrative outlining the key features of their city.
As each team addresses its future transit solutions, students will consider the safety, cost, efficiency, and appearance of their ideas. They will also learn about the engineering disciplines that encompass their solutions, including learning and identifying the steps of the design process.
All teams are guided by an educator and a volunteer mentor. According to Carol Dostal, IPFW College of Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science outreach director, “The educators and mentors should all be applauded for their dedicated semester-long support of their teams. This project-based team effort sparks student interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines at a critical point in their education.”
The annual challenge has received national attention and acclaim for its role in encouraging middle school students nationwide to develop their interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Through hands-on applications, Future City participants discover how engineering is both accessible and can make a difference in the world.
At the Indiana finals, sponsor Indiana Michigan Power awards gifts cards and medals to finalists and participation gifts to each educator and official team presenter. Fifteen organizations sponsor Special Awards, and each school receives a cash participation award for attending.
For information about Future City or mentoring, visit the Future City website or contact Indiana Future City Coordinator Carol Dostal at 260-481-6905 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For Indiana Competition information or to view photos from the 2013 competition, go to the website.
About Future City® Competition
DiscoverE’s annual Future City Competition, for sixth, seventh and eighth grade students, is held from September 2013 through February 2014. Future City is a major program of DiscoverE, a consortium of professional and technical societies and major U.S. corporations, and culminates every year during Engineers Week.
DiscoverE works year-round to sustain and grow a dynamic engineering profession critical to public health, safety, and welfare. The foundation supports engineering outreach, education, and celebration through a network of thousands of volunteers in its partner coalition of more than 100 professional societies, major corporations and government agencies. Together we meet a vital need: introducing students, parents, and educators to engineering, engaging them in hands-on engineering experiences, and making science and math relevant. The foundation and coalition are actively putting the E in STEM.
For more information, visit discovere.org.