BLACKFOOT — Eighth-grade students at the Idaho Science and Technology Charter School have spent the last three months designing and constructing a functional city of the future.
Two teams from the school will travel to Boise this weekend to compete among 25 teams from 17 schools in the Idaho Regional Future City Competition.
Each year, Future City presents themes that highlight a current issue and asks kids to investigate and come up with solutions—this year they were asked to provide a reliable and effective health care product or system that improves a patient’s quality of life. Students start with a research essay describing their concept. They are also required to write a narrative outlining the key features of their city.
As they envision the medical centers, clinics and hospitals of the future, students will also propose, design and develop the supporting infrastructure – both virtual and physical – that would be integral to those facilities. Students use SimCity 4 Deluxe software to design a virtual Future City model incorporating their ideas. They then build a physical model using recycled materials which can cost no more than $100 to build.
“Health care is one of our country’s most important hot-button issues right now,” said Idaho Regional Coordinator Lynn Olson. “This year’s challenge should attract even more attention than usual, as we are asking our students to tackle critical issues that our national leaders are grappling with as well.”
This is the first year students at ISTCS have participated in the program.
“I thought it would be an exciting way to teach civil engineering,” teacher Chad Majeske said. “I just thought the students would learn a lot and have fun doing it.”
He said the students have gained self-confidence, have learned to work as a team and have demonstrated an excitement in learning.
“It was a fun experience,” student Kendrick Pereria said.”We learned a lot about teamwork.”
Other students said they learned about the infrastructure of a city from emergency services, clean water and even taxes.
“I’ve learned a lot through this,” student Morgen Jaques said.
The winning team at the regional competition will travel to Washington, D.C. to compete against 34 other regions at the Future City National Finals Feb. 18-22.