The Future City Competition is a national program sponsored by the engineering community to promote an interest in technology and engineering in middle school students through hands-on, real world applications. The competition is open to sixth, seventh and eighth grade students in public, private and parochial schools within participating regions of the United States. Regional winners compete in the national finals, a featured event during National Engineers Week.
The competition is team based, with each team comprised of three students, a teacher sponsor and an engineer mentor and has five components:
Students complete the tool to help them set goals, plan their schedule, monitor their progress and reflect on lessons learned. The Project Plan will be used with each component of the competition and must be submitted the week before the competition.
The team develops a future city design using SimCity software. The team will then submit its completed city for judging.
Each student team writes an essay explaining their response to a specific engineering challenge. This year’s challenge is to describe their solution to waste management.
Using the software design, the team builds a scale model of a section of their city. The purpose of the model is to give a 3-D representation of how one section of the teams’ future city would look.
The model must contain at least one moving part, such as a transportation or communications component. There is a $100 limit on the materials used in the physical model, so most teams use "found" items to create their city. The physical model will be judged at the Regional Competition in January.
Each student team gives a timed presentation of their city to a panel of judges during the Regional Competition in January, then they answer questions from the judges related to their city’s design.
Scores from the virtual city, city essay, project plan, city model, and team presentation are added together to determine the regional winners. Each qualifying region sends one team to the national competition.
During the preliminary round, after the judges have reviewed the models and essays, the regional winners make another presentation to a panel of judges. After this round, the five teams with the top accumulated scores will become the national finalists. These finalists present their cities to a panel of celebrity judges. The team with the best presentation, model, essay and city design as determined by the celebrity judges will become the national winner.