Kids Worldwide Compete to Create a Futuristic City that Combats Climate Change at the 31st Annual Future City Finals
ALEXANDRIA, VA, January 2023 –How can we make the world a better place? It’s said children are the future and it’s the children that just may have the answer to that age-old question at the finals of the 31st annual Future City Competition, at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Engineer’s Week, February 18 to 21, 2023.
More than 800 middle-schoolers, mentors, and family members from across the U.S., and internationally, all with a passion for science and a desire to the change the world, will descend on our nation’s capital to compete as regional winners following a five-month long competition addressing the topic of climate change.
This fall, some 55,000 STEM students in grades 6 – 8, from nearly 37 regions nationally, and three groups from China, teamed up with teachers, mentors, and volunteers, to imagine, brainstorm, research, strategize and test their ideas on ways to combat climate change in a futuristic city. Projects are judged on a four-part plan the teams develop and use to stay organized and focused; a 1500-word essay, describing the unique attributes of their city and the students’ solution; a city model, where teams build a scale model of their city using recycled materials including one moving part; a seven-minute city plan oral presentation; and answers to a series of questions from judges comprised of corporate and nonprofit STEM professionals and volunteers.
During the course of their work, the students gain experience in engineering and the engineering design process, strengthen their project management and teamworking skills, use their math and science abilities to solve real-world problems, and learn the importance of effective writing, public speaking and becoming environmentally conscious citizens.
The Future City competition recognizes the importance of inclusion and emphasizes participation from all students, male and female, all races and ethnicities and all economic levels. Participants come from middle schools, both public and private, can be home-schooled and can also be members of a nationally, regionally, or state-recognized youth-focused organization, such as the Boy and Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, or 4-H Clubs. Last year, 48 percent of the students were female, 39 percent of the students were minority, and 43 percent were low-income students from Title I schools, meaning schools which are federally funded based on the number of students at that school who qualify for free or reduced cost lunch.
The STEM students must also adhere to a budget. Not only are they required to use repurposed materials to build their model cities, but cannot spend more than $100, which helps promote project creativity. There is a $25 registration fee per organization to sign up for the competition.
Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony February 21. The top honor includes $7,500 for the winning organization’s STEM program and a trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, AL. The second-place award is $5,000; the third-place winner receives $2,000; and fourth and fifth-place teams each receive $750 for their programs. All of the regional winning teams—three student presenters, an educator, and a mentor—are provided transportation, hotel accommodations, and some meals at the finals in D.C.
Warwick Middle School, Lititz, Pennsylvania, won the 2022 grand prize for the group’s engineering design for a waste-free futuristic city.
Major funding for DiscoverE’s Future City Competition comes from the Bechtel Corporation, Bentley Systems Inc., Shell Energy, PMIEF, and the Overdeck Family Foundation. Additional program support is provided by Linde Engineering, Pentair Foundation, and the United Engineering Foundation.
The Future City competition is a program of Discover Engineering, based in Alexandria, VA. DiscoverE is a nonprofit organization comprised of professionals from a coalition of nationwide engineering, science and technological corporations and professional societies. Some of DiscoverE’s other endeavors include Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day™ (February 23, 2023), World Engineering Day (March 4, 2023), the Persist Series, Chats with Changemakers, and outreach for the Dream Big film.