Well its the time of year again where I begin to Market my favorite volunteer effort, the Future City Competition. This is a National Competition open to 7th and 8th graders from any school, Public, Private, Parochial, Charter or Home Schooled children. The Competition lets the kids design their version of a City of the Future using the SimCity4 Deluxe software.
They then write an essay and build a scale model of a portion of their city. Each year there is a different theme. This year each team is to design a city, ÏCreating an affordable living space for people who have lost their home due to a disaster or financial emergency using sustainable materials, have a low carbon emissions footprint, and achieve the ÏGreen Ideals of energy efficient building.
The National Engineers Week Future¨ City Competition (www.futurecity.org) is an example of problem based learning with computer simulation. It is an integrated, multidisciplinary, holistic approach to relevant issues and is a strong example of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) education that addresses national and state academic content standards. The program asks 7th and 8th grade students from around the nation to team with engineer-volunteer mentors to create Ó first on computer and then in large, three-dimensional models Ó their visions of the city of tomorrow. To truly affect the ways students and general public perceive engineering it is important for engineers to use the right messages. The National Science Educational Leadership Association has endorsed the program.
The National Finals of the Future City Competition is a featured event during National Engineers Week, with the Regional winners competing in Washington, D.C. Phoenix is a Region and this is our 13th year in the competition. For information on our Arizona Region activities go to www.futurecityarizona.org
Our CSI Phoenix Chapter has sponsored the Excellence in the Use of Building Materials Award every year. If you are interested in being a Judge for this Years Award please contact me. We usually have 4-5 people. All it takes of your time is one evening at the Burton Barr Phoenix Public Library reviewing the projects and coming up with a ÏShort List and then that Saturday watching the teams give their verbal presentations and determine our Society Award winner. This year the projects will be on display from January 17th to the 22nd and the Finals are Saturday, January 23rd at the University Public School (formerly the Phoenix Preparatory Academy).
What the Future City people really need though are ÏEngineer Mentors. These people keep the team on track and in the real world when designing their city. Understand that an ÏEngineer can be from any technical, scientific or STEM profession. If you are interested go to the Future City Arizona site listed above and on the Home Page select Ï2009-2010 Orientation Meetings. Once on that page go to Ï2009 Competition Overview and you can learn all about the competition. Then, if you want to become a Mentor contact either myself or Michael Andrews the Future City Coordinator at email@example.com There are 39 different schools registered this year and most of them need Mentors.
Believe me this is one of the most rewarding efforts for which you will ever volunteer. It makes you realize that the youth of our country are in great shape to help the USA remain competitive in Engineering and Science throughout the 21st Century.
Yours for a Better Built Environment.
Jay Norton, CSI
CSI Phoenix Chapter President