Area middle schools take part in Future City contest


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The annual Future City Competition is again underway for middle school students across Upstate New York, with volunteer opportunities available for engineering and technical professionals. The theme for the 2022-23 competition, Climate Change Challenge, allows teams of 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade students to explore what a city 100 years in the future would look like if today’s cities begin to adapt to climate change and install mitigation strategies to combat it.

The Upstate New York Region extends from Syracuse to Canton, to Albany, to Coxsackie. The regional competition will be held on Saturday, January 14, at the Armory at Sage College in Albany. After two years of remote competition, the event is returning to an in-person format. Winners of the regional competition will go on to compete nationally in Washington, D.C. on February 17-23.

As part of the 2021-22 competition, 192 middle school students from 17 teams competed from the Upstate New York region. The “Cyclosparta” team from Richard H. O’Rourke Middle School, part of the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central School District, won first place regionally. The team went on to represent the Upstate New York region at the national competition for the fifth consecutive year.

The Future City Competition has students work as a team with an educator and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) mentor. Students present their vision of the future through a 1,500-word essay; a scale model of their city built with recycled materials; a project plan to help keep their project on track; and a short presentation to a panel of STEM professionals. Keeping the engineering design process and project management front and center, students are asked to address how they can make the world a better place.

Each year, more than 45,000 students, representing 1,500 schools and 38 regions in the United States, take part in the Future City Competition. The winning team takes home the grand prize of a trip to U.S. Space Camp and $7,500 for their school’s STEM program.

Future City has ongoing opportunities for engineering and technical professionals to volunteer in several different roles, including team mentors, competition judges, and regional coordinators. To sign up, visit the organization’s website.

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