March 1, 2017
Future City is a project-based STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) program celebrating its 25th year where students in 6th through 8th grade imagine, research, design, and build a city 100-years in the future, addressing issues such as sustainability, growing need for energy, and over-crowding. They compete in several categories including a 1,500-word essay, a 25” x 50” x 20” physical model, an oral presentation, a SimCity simulation, and a Project Plan, each with four pages of scoring rubric. The budget for the physical model and presentation materials is $100, and the teams are encouraged to use recycled materials.
The Annunciation team won the Regional Competition which was held at UNM’s School of Architecture and Planning in January and came away with the “Best Presentation” and “Best Essay” awards in addition to 1stPlace overall.
The New Mexico team’s city is named “Future Falls”, and the team members are Brian Kalb, Cohen Mulville, Malachi Pena, Bryan Deller, and Christopher Coash, and the mentors for the team are Jeffrey Kalb and Jean Pena, both engineers at Sandia National Laboratories. The team met after school, worked during holiday breaks, and did work at home, outside of school work, to complete the deliverables. Future Falls was the only team at the national competition comprised solely of 6th students.
“The program really opens the students eyes to what it takes for a city to run, to plan its infrastructure and services, and how many different kinds of engineers and architects are involved,” Jean Pena said. “The students also learn about how to meet deadlines, brainstorm solutions, compromise ideas, and work as a team. The theme this year was The Power of Public Space’, so the students also learned how important Public Space is in a community. It’s a wonderful program! We also appreciate the support of our school and community in helping us fundraise to pay for the students airfare and hotel accommodations.”
At the Future City Finals, the New Mexico team won the Special Award “Most Sustainable Buildings” given by ASHRAE, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. This group of 6th grade students placed 17th out of 43 teams from 4 countries.