device, machine, structure, material, and transportation or communication system is an engineer.
Building their vision of the city of the future is the most popular part of the competition. Students start collecting recyclables over the summer. I encour- age students to include paper, metal, glass, plastic, and organics in their model. Students work on their build- ing skills in the summer. This year, I collected small paper boxes, bottle caps, and computer keys and assigned “practice” building assignments. When students brought them to class, we critiqued them and discussed scale and design. In preparation for model building,
the students researched the location for their city. They became familiar
with the culture, architecture, history, climate, and flora and fauna. Although the city is in the future, they must understand the past to realistically deal with the future. Last year, for example, our city was based in Hawaii. The students were in contact with the Mayor of Honolulu and a writer in Lanai. They researched Lanai via the Internet and took out books and DVDs from local libraries. One year, after contacting an engineer who was working on Project Moses in Venice, our team was invited to her home in Venice, Italy! Although the dimensions (no larger than 25"W  50"L  20"H) are set by the competi-
tion, students determine the scale. Students must include at least one moving part that is integral to the city and may not spend more than $100 on the model, presentation, and costumes. The essay is science/engineer-
ing based. This year, for example, the students explored virtual medicine and its role in Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. They often contact experts in the field for up-to-date infor- mation.
Creating a Whole
The students spent hours research- ing their ideas. In order to understand their city and their vision they explored transportation systems, energy sources, communication, waste/water treatment, nanotechnology, sustainability, the weather, and topography. Imagining the use of technology in the future is a critical component of Future
©SYNERGY LEARNING • 800-769-6199 • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011 Connect • PAGE 11 It is important for
the students to look at their own town
in relation to what they have learned about zoning,
infrastructure, and city services.