By Yuri Mereszcak
The Future City Competition is a national STEM learning experience where 6th, 7th, and 8th grades students imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future that showcase their solution to a citywide sustainability issue. This year’s theme was Waste-Free City, where teams were tasked to use the three principles of a circular economy to design a futuristic, waste-free city. Students begin as early as August, working as a team with an educator and mentor to create their city of the future from scratch. They then present their solutions to judges at Regional Competitions in January. Regional winners represent their region at the National Competition in February, with the winner receiving an all-expenses paid trip to Space Camp in Huntsville, AL.
The Idaho Region just completed its 18th year with 30 teams from 15 different schools throughout the state competing for the top spot. After a virtual competition last year, teams came back this year to compete at Boise State University’s Student Union Building on Saturday, January 29th. Teams came from all over Idaho including Ammon, Blackfoot, Boise, Caldwell, Garden Valley, Idaho Falls, Homedale, Kuna, Meridian, Nampa, Parma, and Sandpoint.
1st place went to Heritage Middle School (Meridian) Future City Triton. Students Hailey Harris, Haylee Bird, and Milah Martin along with educators Karl Topping and Lori Mason and mentor Taylor Reeves will represent Idaho at the National Future City Finals on Saturday, February 5th!
Parametrix has sponsored the Idaho Regional Competition at the highest level for many years now and this year was no different. Kenny Dodd and Brad Burkett from the Boise office judged Parametrix’s special award for Best Futuristic City. The Future Citizen’s team from Falcon Ridge Charter School in Kuna won Parametrix’s special award this year.
Employee-owners from the Puget Sound region also participated in their local Future City competition. Amanda Thom, Dwight Miller, Mark Mazzola, Jennifer Dvorak, Tom Messana, and Clara Dubow served as judges for Washington’s virtual competition.
Teams wrote Essays, built model cities, and gave PowerPoint presentations about different aspects of their cities, such as infrastructure, energy, waste management, and general life in the city. Each team built a scale model of their city and submitted pictures for one of the judging categories.
One of the group’s favorites was the Lunar City, Mizari Andalli, designed by Bellingham homeschooled students.
“Middle school is a very important time in a kid’s educational journey and what possibilities they see for themselves. In 7th grade I participated in a STEM camp for girls. It was only two days spent with professional women and girls my age, but it was the first time I met a female scientist. Sometimes a short encounter can really open up possibilities or inspire a child. Usually I am the one inspired by the teams’ creativity and out of the box thinking!” said Parametrix employee-owner Amanda Thom, who has volunteered with the Future City competition since 2014.
With Parametrix’s support of the Future City program we are inspiring the next generation by helping these future leaders, scientists, and engineers to see the role that science and engineering has in changing the world!
If you’re interested in learning more, visit https://futurecity.org/participants/judges.