Prepare to Lead

Prepare to Lead: A To-Do List for the Team Educator

This checklist is a compilation of the preparatory tasks successful educators do in order to ensure a great Future City experience for all involved - their students and themselves. Check off each item until you’ve completed the list and you can be sure that you’re ready to lead your team!

Getting Started

—Read the handbook in its entirety. It gives you a sense of the scope of the project, who you need to be in touch with, how to find key information, and most of all, what the steps are for students to complete the project. The handbook can be downloaded in the Resources section (filter for Handbook & Student Handouts). Make note of the changes this year.

—Depending on your school district's operations for the Fall and Winter, decide how your team will work and interact. This year, the entire program can be completed virtually. Students can complete deliverables remotely at home or work together in-person, depending on local public health guidelines.

—Contact your Regional Coordinator to find out what your regional deadlines are. See if there are any virtual trainings or other ways to check in and get questions answered.

Register your school/organization at Registration closes on October 31, 2020.

—Complete the Home School Affidavit. If you are a home school educator, you will need to complete the Home School Affidavit Form to verify that your home school is operating in accordance with the laws in your state. Click here to download a writeable PDF version of the Home School Affidavit Form or visit the Resources section (filter for Competition Forms & Project Plan).

—Choose activities from the Resources section of to introduce students to specific elements of the project, such as infrastructure and scale.

—Create a preliminary schedule to guide your team through each step of the project, leaving time for contacting mentors and having them work with students as well as allowing a little wiggle room to meet the regional deadlines.

—Obtain SimCity codes if you plan to use SimCity as an educational tool. You may request up to two codes. You will receive your codes automatically in the Online Portal after completing the second step of registration, the Program Details Survey. Note: Additional codes may be requested by emailing, but are not guaranteed.

—Meet with your IT department about setting up Sim City and working out any problems with firewalls or other technological roadblocks. Here's a helpful guide for this conversation.

—Explore the Future City website carefully. Take notes on what you want to remember or work on with your students. Spend some time in the Resources section. It’s where you can download everything in the handbook (and additional activities!) and where you can solidify your understanding of the project.

—Choose activities from the Resources section to introduce students to specific elements of the project, such as infrastructure and scale. The handbook offers guidelines for when students should complete an activity. Practicing with concepts and skills before they work on the project is really important so that students can apply what they’ve learned and exercise good judgement and creativity rather than learning on the fly.

—Download and copy competition forms; make sure students complete and sign them. Go to (filter for Competition Forms and Project Plan).

—Explore the Gallery section of Future City's website to see models, essays, and presentations from previous years. It’s a great way to understand what this competition is all about and what high scoring entries look like.

—Gather supplies for the City Model. Stockpile a wide variety of recyclable materials - art supplies, parts of household appliances, paper towel rolls, leftover paint, water bottles, and so on.

—Make sufficient copies of student materials, located in Appendix: Deliverables starting on page 40 of the Handbook.

—Organize your team. Create the team format that works for you and your students. You can have a small team of just 3 students or a large team of 30 students (*check with your Regional Coordinator to confirm region specific rules on team sizes). As you decide what format works for you, review the Team Format Options here

—Find a mentor: Mentors can be engineers, technical professionals, architects, city or urban planners, city managers, or others who work in the engineering and technical community. Parents are a great mentor resource. Ask your students if their parents or relatives are engineers or technicians. Don’t be shy - mentors who participated in a recent survey told us they volunteered because they were asked!

Download Tips for Working with Your Mentor. Click here to download Tips for Working with Your Mentor or go to the Resources section (filter for Research Resources and Websites).

—Can’t find a mentor? Contact your Regional Coordinator. Click here to find your Regional Coordinator’s email address or click on Find My Region.

—Establish a schedule of when the mentor can work with the team.