What do educators get out of Future City?
Lead your students through a project-based learning experience, helping them tackle a relevant citywide sustainability issue as they imagine, research, brainstorm, design, and build cities of the future. Along the way, they’ll discover engineering, develop a meaningful relationship with an engineering mentor, become more aware citizens, and build their 21st century skills.
This cross-curricular educational program gives students the opportunity to do the things that engineers do—identify problems; learn the specs and brainstorm solutions; design solutions; build it, test and retest; and share their results. This process is called the engineering design process. With this at its center, Future City is an engaging way to build students’ 21st century skills while they apply math and science concepts to real-world problems.
Future City is a flexible, project based learning experience that you can adapt for your classroom, after-school club, or homeschool group. Students will utilize their science, math and engineering knowledge to create cities that exist at least 100 years in the future. The program’s various components—designing with computers, building scale models, researching, writing, and public speaking—make it accessible to a variety of students and relevant for educators with various areas of subject matter expertise. More at About the Competition.
Yes! Future City meets the national standards for math, science, and technology education as defined by the Next Generation Science Standards, the Common Core State Standards, and the National Science Education Standards, the Project 2061 Benchmarks for Science Literacy, the National Educational Technology Standards, and the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. View Standards.
Yes, it is an open-ended challenge you can easily adapt to your students' abilities. Teachers and parents report that Future City is a transformational program with exceptional student growth and learning for all students. If you would like to make significant programmatic changes to accommodate your students' abilities, be sure to contact your Regional Coordinator to determine your eligibility for regional finals.
Future City is open to teams of students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade.
Yes. Every organization that is using the Future City program needs to register, even those that are not planning on competing. By registering, you receive all of the materials you need to successfully implement the program. It also helps us know how many students are participating and in what ways.
$25.00 per organization--you can register 1 team or 100. The price always stays the same. Additional costs may include supplies for the model and presentation but this cost is limited to a $100 budget and most teams offset it by using recycled materials. Teams may also incur travel costs to the regional competition. Teams that win their regional competition receive airfare and hotel accommodations for five members of their team (the three official presenting students, the educator and the mentor.)
This varies by region. Teams that win their regional competition receive airfare and hotel accommodations for five members of their team. Email your Regional Coordinator to find out how many teams you are allowed to bring.
No. Future City is first and foremost an education program, not a competition program. You can choose any of the Competition Deliverables that fit your learning goals—the Virtual City Design to teach city planning; the City Essay to strengthen research and writing skills; or the City Model to understand scale, potential and kinetic energy, and city planning.
Teams come in all sizes—a whole class, a group of 10 kids, or 3 students. As you near competition time, you’ll need to identify the 3 students who will officially present the team’s work at the Regional Competition. Read more about Forming Your Team.
Some educators offer Future City as part of a class, some split the work between class and after school, and others do the program after school. Each educator must figure out what works for them. Explore About the Competition to get a better idea of the time required to complete the program.
Most educators register in the spring or summer, and then get to work as soon as the school year begins. Following the Planning Timeline, educators are able to work through the entire program in the Fall in order to be ready to compete at the Regional Competition in January. If you are not planning on competing, you have a bit more flexibility, but make sure to register by mid-October to ensure that you get all of the support that we offer. Email your Regional Coordinator for more information.
Making It Happen
The program runs from August or September to January, with Regional Competitions held in January and National Finals in February. Educators may spend approximately 35-45 hours while students may spend 50 to 70 hours on the project. Some people partner with colleagues to help coach the team—the tech or science teacher to lead the Virtual City Design, the English teacher to oversee the City Essay, and the art or math teacher to lead the City Model building. Read more about Leading Your Team to get a sense of the time required.
A new and improved educator handbook details everything you need to know about the competition. In addition the handbook contains classroom activities to support student learning, and great project planning resources. Additional online and print resources related to the current year’s theme are posted to the web in the Resources section. In addition photos and videos of previous years’ projects and presentations are posted in the Gallery and can serve as invaluable guides.
After you register, you will be contacted by your Regional Coordinator who can answer any questions you may have along the way. Some regions offer local trainings and webinars in addition to the National-level ones scheduled. You will also be able to enlist the support of a local STEM mentor.
The best place to start is in your community of parents or by looking to local businesses or universities. If you are having trouble finding a mentor your Regional Coordinator can help you find a mentor.
Some people partner with colleagues to help coach the team—the tech or science teacher can lead the Virtual City Design, the English teacher can oversee the City Essay and Presentation, and the art or math teacher can help lead the City Model building.
Yes, a planning meeting with your mentor is critical. Ask your mentor: what role would they like to play; how often can they meet with the students; what works best for their schedule; are they available via skype or email? Share with your mentor: what support or guidance you and your team need; tell him or her the best way to reach you; give your mentor advice about working with middle school students. Don’t stop there, continued communication will help ensure the development of a meaningful partnership. Review the Mentor page to more fully understand what we ask of mentors.
Your students will look up to you every step of the way. Review Leading Your Team for help in determining the order in which you present all of the pieces of this project. In addition, review the Program Handbook and Resources page as they contain great classroom activities to help explain the tough concepts. And remember, you don’t always need to have the answers! Set a good example by doing the research along with your students.