Louisiana, Mississippi schools to participate in Future City Competition
by: Rene Abadie
HAMMOND – Seven middle school teams from Louisiana and Mississippi plan to participate in the Future City Competition to be held Jan. 25 at Southeastern Louisiana University.
Teams of sixth, seventh and eighth graders will participate in DiscoverE's 2013-14 Future City Competition, where they are asked to design a city of the future and predict what it may look like by using the simulation program SimCity software. The software is provided free to all registered participating teams. DiscoverE is a consortium of professional and technical societies and major U.S corporations and culminates very year National Engineers Week.
This year's challenge to the school teams is to identify a problem of moving people in a city of the future and design modes and methods of transportation to solve the problem.
Participating schools in the competition include three schools from Louisiana: Episcopal High School, Scotlandville Pre-Engineering School and St. Thomas More, all from Baton Rouge, and Youngsville Christian School of Youngsville. Mississippi schools participating are Gautier Middle School of Gautier, Colmer Middle School of Pascagoula and Discovery Gifted Program of Long Beach.
Major sponsors for the Louisiana regional event are Shell and Entergy, which also sponsored previous Future City competitions at Southeastern.
Professor of Computer Science and Future City coordinator Cris Koutsougeras said that the competition this year will be able to make cash awards to the top teams in the competition, thanks to the financial support from the sponsors. In addition, two special awards will be made from NCEES, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the licensure of engineers, and CH2M-HILL, a program management and consulting firm.
Judging in the competition will take place Saturday, Jan. 25, on Southeastern's campus in Hammond. The winning team will be sent to participate in the national competition in Washington, DC, in February 2014. While the program has been around for more than 20 years, this is only the third year the competition has been held in Louisiana.
"I am glad to see the program is gaining in popularity. We are seeing increased interest among schools in both Louisiana and Mississippi," said Koutsougeras. "This competition takes a considerable amount of extra time and energy outside the classroom on the part of teachers and mentoring professionals, and much of the credit goes to these dedicated individuals who are helping these young people prepare their models and presentations."
Using SimCity software – provided free to registered teams -- the student teams will work with a teacher and volunteer mentor, usually an engineer, to design a virtual Future City model that incorporates their ideas. They will build a physical model using recycled materials that can cost no more than $100 to build.
DiscoverE works year-round to sustain and grow a strong engineering profession critical to public health, safety and welfare. The consortium supports engineering outreach, education and celebration through a network of thousands of volunteers in a coalition of more than 100 professional societies, major corporations and government agencies.