Davidson IB Middle School national finalists in Future Cities competition

The Davidson IB Middle School Future Cities teams have more than a vision for the future—they have mapped it out, designed the social and economic structures and are preparing to take it to a national competition! Davidson IB Middle School eighth-grade team placed first in the North Carolina Regional Future City Competition. As the top-ranked team, they’ve won a free trip to represent the North Carolina Region at the national competition in Washington, D.C. later this month.

The Future City Competition serves students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade. Sponsored by National Engineers Week, the national program introduces students to engineering with the popular SimCity 4 Deluxe™ software. Students design future cities with simulation software, build scale models, write essays and give oral reports on their city's design. The program helps students better understand practical applications of math, science, social studies and computer learning as they plan their own cities.

“When you start, the thought of developing a city can be overwhelming,” said Sharad Wertheimer, one of the eighth-grade team presenters. “You see the city in your mind and you envision yourself as a citizen. It makes me excited to participate and made me think of a career in engineering.”

The Davidson IB team is coached by science teacher, Jay Hager, who works to develop the students’ skill and process, and also coordinates the initiative with the local engineering community. The work begins in the sixth grade, where students are introduced to the basic principles of designing a full-fledged city, including physical, social and economic factors. As the students progress to seventh and eighth grade, the cities continue with them, becoming more sound and sophisticated. Once they reach the eighth grade competition team, students are supported in their efforts to produce a product worthy of state and national recognition.

David Simpson, regional coordinator for the North Carolina Regional Future City Competition, stated, “For many students, the Future City Competition was the first time they worked together to tackle a challenging project as a team. The dynamic nature of this competition helps the students develop and implement their mathematical, technical, writing and verbal presentation skills.”

Cash prizes were awarded amounting to over $5,000. The first place school, Davidson IB Middle School, won $1,000, will attend a week-long NC State Engineering summer camp and represent the NC region at the Future City National Finals in Washington, D.C., February 18-22, 2011 during the 19th Annual National Engineers Week Future City Competitiontm. Future City is an engineering competition that challenges over 33,000 students from more than 1,100 schools in 39 regions nationwide to consider how to revitalize America's cities.

UPDATE: The Davidson IB Future Cities eighth-grade team finished third in the nation, which will earn their school a $2000 award. They also received a special award for best aerospace technology, which has a monetary award for the students themselves, for their transportation ideas from Mars to Earth and international travel on Earth.