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NWPE Members Lead Future City Teams to Awards
posted by: Cindy Omlin | February 02, 2016, 10:40 PM   

brenda miller sarah waltersFollowing that waste-oriented field trip and project development, Ms. Walters’ students joined hundreds of other middle school students from 23 Idaho schools on January 23 at the Boise State University Student Union for the 12th annual Future City Regional Competition where they won an award for Most Sustainable Food Production System. 

The Future City™ Competition, in its 24th year nationally and 12th year in Idaho, is a free educational program for sixth, seventh and eighth-grade students run entirely by volunteers throughout the state. It is a national program that fosters an interest in math, science and engineering through hands-on, real world applications.  NWPE Regional Director Brenda Miller surprised our members’ teams with treats and special cheering as they went through the competition.  Lynn Olson, Idaho Regional Future City Coordinator  reported that the event received news coverage from KBOI - Channel 2 (Boise) and KTVB Channel 7 (Boise) and that Future City was the lead story on a STEM Daily email newsletter.  

The top team, as the Idaho Education News reported in Competition Challenges Student to Solve Real World Problems, “will win a trip to Washington, D.C., to compete with other middle-schoolers from around the country in the Future City Competition National Finals, Feb. 13-17.  Thirty one teams from 22 different schools participated.

“They love it,” said Walters. “The kids who participated last year begged me to do it again this year.”

IEN describes the Future City Competition as “a national, project-based learning experience where students imagine, research, design and build cities of the future. Using the engineering design process and project management as a framework, students are asked to address a real-world question. This year’s theme — Waste Not, Want Not — encourages students to design waste management systems for residential use and small businesses. They learn how today’s engineers and city planners deal with issues such as collection, separation, processing, recycling, health and safety, energy efficiency, environmental impact and cost. Then they design a plausible solution to help tomorrow’s citizens reduce, reuse, recycle and rot to reduce their footprint on the planet.”

Lynn Olson describes the elements of the completion as including the following components:

  • An imaginative, collaborative project using the SimCity™ game to creatively apply engineering principles
  • A project plan
  • A 1,500-word essay describing the unique attributes of their city.
  • A 3D model made of recycled material.
  • A seven-minute oral presentation followed by questions from the judges.

Caitlin Scott, sixth grade math teacher at Lake Hazel Middle School in Meridian and coach for two Future City teams said in the IEN article, “It helps students not just focus in one area like English, math or science, but it brings it all together.  A lot of students struggle with combining subjects into one.” She also acknowledged that students find learning to concede to one another challenging. “They all have such big, great ideas, they have a hard time seeing how to merge their ideas,” Scott said.

First place went to Boise's Sacred Heart Catholic School's Future City Mottainai led by teacher Carol Grado and Engineer Mentor Dan Grado from STRATA, Inc.  The team will represent Idaho at the National Final Competition February 13-16 in Washington, D.C.  Sacred Heart's team also won the special award for the Most Multi-Modal Transportation Network.  The team was sponsored by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Idaho Chapter.

NWPE member Kim Portwood's team Homedale Middle School's Future City Ciudad Reciclado took 3rd Place!  They also won the award for the Most Efficient & Creative Transit System sponsored by Kittelson & Associates.

Special congratulations and thanks to NWPE members Sarah Walters, Salmon River; Casey Pye, The Village Charter School; and Kim Portwood, Homedale, who led teams to Future City.  Is this really happening in sixth grade?  Wow!  So impressive!

Please see pictures of our NWPE members and their teams below.  Congratulations students and teachers!

NWPE's Kim Portwood's Third Place Team

kim portwood  future city team

NWPE's Sarah Walter's Team
sarah walters future city team

NWPE's Casey Pye's Team

casey pye future city team



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