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 after educators register.

—Depending on your school district's operations for the Fall and Winter, decide how your team will work and interact. This year, most of the program can be completed virtually. Students can complete deliverables remotely at home or work together in-person, depending on local public health guidelines. Details on whether some elements of the regional competition (Q&A) will be taking place in-person or virtually, will be determined by your Regional Coordinator. 

—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, 2021.

—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. This year the affidavit is available as an online form in the Educator Dashboard.

—Choose activities after registering, use materials from the Resources section to introduce students to specific elements of the project, such as infrastructure and scale. Practicing with concepts and skills before students work on the project is important so that they can apply what they've learned and exercise judgment and creativity rather than learning on the fly.

—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 via the Educator Dashboard in early September. Note: Additional codes may be requested but are not guaranteed.

—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.

—Review competition forms. Ensure they are signed by all applicable team members. Further details are below:

- Honor Statement: online form that must be signed by all members of the team and approved by the Educator

- Media Waiver: electronically signed by each team member's parent or guardian, then approved by the Educator

- Competition Expense Form: one per team; must include scanned receipts

—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 41 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 STEM mentor for your team: Mentors can be engineers, technical professionals, architects, urban planners, city managers, or others who work in the engineering and technical community. 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 Collaborating Together for Team Success. Click here to download this helpful document for Team Educators and Team Mentors.

—Can’t find a STEM team 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, either remotely or in person. Be sure that you are always on the calls and video meetings - the mentor should never connect with the students by themselves.