Middle school applications for Future City Competition solicited

Contact: Rene Abadie
Date: September 10, 2012

      HAMMOND – Louisiana middle school students can now register to participate in the state's Future City Competition to be held early next year at Southeastern Louisiana University.

     Teams of sixth, seventh and eighth graders will participate in the National Engineers Week Foundation's 2012-13 Future City Competition, where they are asked to design a city using the simulator game SimCity4, which is provided free to all registered participants. This year's theme is "Rethink runoff: designing clean solutions to manage storm water pollution."

     Deadline for team registrations is Wednesday, Oct. 31, at 5 p.m., said Louisiana Regional Coordinator Cris Koutsougeras, professor of computer science at Southeastern. For information and school registration, visit www.futurecity.org. Questions can also be directed to Koutsougeras at ck@southeastern.edu.

     The regional competition will take place Saturday, Jan. 19, on Southeastern's campus in Hammond, with the winning team participating in the national competition in Washington, DC, in February. While the program has been around for 20 years, this is only the second year the competition has been held in Louisiana.

     In addition to school-based teams, Koutsougeras said the competition this year is open to community organizations such as Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, as long as participants are in line with middle school grades 6 through 8.

     "Future City is an ideal opportunity for students, their teachers and volunteer mentors to work together as a team in developing creative solutions to a major environmental problem," Koutsougeras said. "As they analyze the damaging effects of extreme weather, they will imagine and design new and creative ways to manage storm water in a community.

     "What could be more appropriate for our Louisiana students to address at this time?" he asked. "In the last two years, we've seen the ravaging impact of flooding and severe weather in our own region."

     Using the SimCity4 Deluxe Edition software, the student teams will work with a teacher and volunteer mentor 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.

     As teams address storm water runoff solutions, the students will perform research on relevant sciences and evaluate tools and solutions that science and engineering can make to help manage this problem, he explained.

     "Future City engages students in experiential learning involving science and engineering disciplines that encompass their solutions and helps the students learn to identify the steps of the design process," he added. "By participating in this project, the students gain valuable insight into the principles of engineering, science, technology and mathematics that will help equip our future scientists and leaders."

     Koutsougeras said Future City is one of many other competitions in which teachers lead student teams and engage them in learning that instills love for the sciences, math, and engineering (STEM).

     "The Future City competition calls for the broadest synergy of science and engineering solutions in order to develop practical solutions. This is the kind of learning opportunities parents love to see schools making available to their kids," he added.

     The National Engineers Week Foundation works year-round to sustain and grow a strong engineering profession critical to public health, safety and welfare. The Foundation 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.

More News...