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Define Stage: How It Works

After you’ve learned what’s involved in building a city and the competition deliverables, the Project Plan will be helpful as you outline your overall goals and approach to the competition. In the Define Stage of your Project Plan, you will:

A. Set Goals

Goals explain what you will achieve by the end of the project. Setting goals will help you to envision what you want the outcome of the project to look like. Goals also help you answer the question, “How do I know when I’m done?”

Think About It

  • How do you want to work as a team?
  • What would you like to achieve with each deliverable?
  • How could you apply the engineering design process to your project?
  • What other goals are important to your team?

Examples: Make sure everyone has a role. Get in the top five at Regionals. Create a city that is unique and futuristic. Balance fun and hard work. Meet all deadlines.

Tip: Goals can be wide ranging. As you establish your goals, keep in mind the challenge that is driving Future City this year: The Power of Public Spaces (challenge announced on July 15)

B. Identify Resources, Constraints, and Assumptions

Resources are all of the items that can be used to help the project, which may include money, time, tradable goods, and services you own or can get for free.

Think About It

  • What resources do you have available at home, at school, and through your community?  Examples: Access to materials like paper, cardboard, plastic, and wood for building our City Model, mentor's expertise and time, computers, team member with strong presenting skills.
  • Who can you call on for support? Examples: Teachers, parents, mentor, school staff, local stores, town recycling department, your town's city planner, other local or regional experts.

Tip: List everything you can think of! You never know what might come in handy as you go.

Constraints are things that can limit what you can do in some way. These could include technological resources, human resources, time, competition rules, and specifications for deliverables.

Think About It

  • What things may get in the way of your team completing the Future City challenge? Examples: We have busy schedules and have limited time to meet. Our mentor lives an hour away, which may make it difficult to meet with her. We can't print from student computers. We have a large group. We can only spend $100.

 

Assumptions are things you believe to be true about your Future City project.

Think About It

  • What things are you sure about as you begin? Examples: We must be organized to succeed. We'll need to spend a lot of time planning. There are many deliverables to keep track of. Our city will be futuristic. Working as a team you need to compromise sometimes. 

C. Describe Deliverables

Deliverables are the end products or results that are created during the project (like Virtual City, City Description, City Model, City Presentation, and Project Plan). Describing the deliverables and requirements in your own words will help you to remember what's important and discover any questions you have. 

Think About It

  • How can you learn about the requirements for each deliverable?
  • In your own words, how would you describe each deliverable?
  • What questions do you have about the deliverable? How can you find answers?
  • How can you use the rubrics to help you create your deliverables?

Tip: To learn more about the deliverables and requirements, check out these resources:

Next: Advice and Tips