Annual Future City School Competition In Harrisburg Jan. 24

Experts predict that by the year 2030 nearly all of the world’s population growth will be concentrated in urban areas.  At the same time, the Earth’s arable land may no longer be sufficient to produce enough food for the planet’s growing population. 

With access to fresh, affordable and healthy food among our most pressing global concerns, middle schoolers participating in this year’s annual Future City Competition have been presented with an exceptionally timely challenge for 2014-15: Feeding Future Cities.

Since returning to school earlier this fall, student teams from Central Pennsylvania have been hard at work on their Future City projects, developing new solutions for sustainable farming in and around cities. 

As they prepare for the regional finals set for January 24 at the Pennsylvania State Museum, they join more than 40,000 middle school students from 1,350 schools in 37 regions around the country, all of whom are engaged in similar regional competitions. 

Participating schools include: Camp Curtin Academy, Cornerstone Homeschoolers, Donegal Junior High, Eagle View Middle School, Elizabethtown Area Middle School, Good Hope Middle School, JET, Linglestown Middle School, Lower Dauphin Middle School, Marshall Math and Science Academy, Mechanicsburg Middle School, Middletown Area Middle School, St. Joseph's Homeschool Coop, Steelton-Highspire Jr. High Science Club, Warwick Middle School, West York Area Middle School, and York Country Day School.

First-place winners from each qualifying regional competition receive a trip to the Future City Competition National Finals in Washington, D.C., February 15-18 during Engineers Week.

Future City has received national attention and acclaim for its role in encouraging middle schoolers nationwide to develop their interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The annual challenge is one of the nation’s leading engineering education programs and among the most popular.

This year’s theme encourages students to explore today’s urban agriculture, from aeroponic systems for rooftop farms to recycled gray water to the sustainability-driven farm-to-table movement, and develop a futuristic solution to growing crops within the confines of their city.

Working in a team with an educator and engineer mentor, students are challenged to design a virtual city using SimCity software. They research today’s urban farms and write an essay describing their solution to feeding their citizens. 

Students then bring their ideas to life by building a table top scale model of their city using recycled materials on a budget of $100 or less and write a brief narrative promoting their city.   

For more information on judging or mentoring, visit the Future City Competition website.


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