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Ohio
Regional Coordinator: Christopher Germain

ohio@futurecity.org

Helpful Tips

Helpful Hints from a Past Participant

How to Organize Teams

A team is defined as 3 students from grades 6, 7 and/or 8 who are from the same school or from a home school environment, a teacher coach (any paid staff member at a public/private/parochial school or home school), and an engineer mentor. Like Nationals, the Ohio Region will only recognize those three students, teacher coach, and engineer mentor. One team from a school will compete in the model/presentation judging at the regional finals. The names of those team members representing your school and attending the regional finals must be sent to the Ohio Region in early January. See Important Dates tab on the home page.

So what do you do if you have more than three students in your building interested in the program?

Multiple Teams from One School

a.       Meet with all your teams and their families to discuss the time involved (apx. 100 hours per student). If it is not possible to gather your families, send a letter home.

b.       Parents need to understand that out-of-school meetings will be needed and space for the building of the model may be needed.

c.       Students can self-select into teams of three.

d.       Share that only one team will represent the school at the regional finals in January.

e.        It is recommended that each team have an engineer mentor for guidance but one engineer can serve as a mentor for several teams. Discuss this with your engineer, students, and families.

f.       Teachers, parents, and engineer mentors can advise but the students should complete the work.

Deciding which of your multiple teams goes to the Ohio Regional Finals

A good way to narrow down the selection of you representatives to the regional finals is to have a building/classroom competition. See the teacher handbook for more details.

a.       Be sure to send in your school's items by the deadlines.

b.       A building contest can be held for all of your possible teams.

c.       Since the first deadline is in December, have the building contest prior to any regional deadlines. See Important Dates tab on the home page.

d.       Invite two to three engineers to serve as judges. Administrators and curriculum coordinators also can serve as judges.

e.       Copy the Presentation/Model score sheets from the teacher handbook for each of your judges, enough to judge all the teams.

f.        The teacher should stay in the room and keep time or even videotape the process for student feedback. Other team(s) leaves the room.

g.       Allow each team to present their five to seven minute presentations to the judges and allow eight-10 minutes of questions from the judges.

h.       Collect the score sheets, add the scores, and announce which team will go on to the regional finals.

i.         Give certificates to all participants. (Teacher coaches can use the certificate template in the handbook or can ask for an electronic template via e-mail from the Regional Coordinator.)

j.         Celebrate all the hard work!

Another option is to have the teams present to each other and the teams can vote who goes on to the regional finals.

One School’s Large Group or Classroom’s Collective Efforts

a.         Explain the components of the competition and that it will be a group effort to complete the project.

b.         Allow students to self select (or the teacher can select) which component the students will focus their energies, i.e., five or so students working on essay research, three or so students working on essay composition, etc.)

c.         Have those who have self-selected (or been chosen by teacher or peers) to serve as the presenters practice in front of adults, peers, and engineers if possible as these students will be speaking with the judges at the regional finals.

d.         National rules state that no more or less than three students must be at the regional finals.

e.         These three students, teacher coach, and mentor engineer will be given any prizes at the competition. If selected as the Ohio Region winner, these five individuals will move on to the National Finals in Washington, DC. 

f.           Remember to select an engineer mentor who will not mind working with many different students throughout the course of the event or select more than one engineer mentor.

g.         Teachers, parents, and engineer mentors can advise but the students should complete the work.

h.         Be sure to send in your school's items by the deadlines.

i.           Give certificates to all participants. (Teacher coaches can use the certificate template in the handbook or can ask for an electronic template via e-mail from the Regional Coordinator.)

j.      Celebrate all the hard work!

Suggested Tips

When the team that has represented Ohio at Nationals returns, the steering committee gratefully accepts tips for future teams.

More general suggestions can be found below.

  • The Future City Competition takes time so plan accordingly
    • Teacher: 30-40 hours
    • Mentor: 20-40 hours
    • Students:
      • Project Plan
      • Virtual City: 18-20 hours
      • City Description: 8 hours
      • City Model: 40-60 hours
      • Presentation: 7 hours
  • Keep parents informed. Make sure parents of the student competitors know about the competition requirements and schedule. Send a letter to parents home with the students.
  • You need to be successful on all components of the project to win.
  • See teacher handbook for scoring deductions and important dates.
  • Teachers and engineer mentors act as advisors. The students are the designers and adults are there to support and encourage them.
  • Consider bringing in topic area experts (for example: power generation and energy management) to give a brief presentation.
  • Only the three students presenting to the judges at COSI will receive prizes and program recognition. This is carried out from Nationals. A certificate template is available in the handbook for building level recognition.
  • Penalty points for late work won't kill your chances. If you need a couple more days to complete your city design or essay, you might want to consider turning your work in late and accepting the penalty points (they count for less than 2% of total score). However, fractions of points have historically separated the scores and team ranking.

When you start SimCity, build slowly and wisely. Your new SimCity city is a balancing act between income and expenses for building infrastructure. Don't build more than you can afford.