Indian Valley Middle School to compete in city engineering contest

WESTERVILLE -- What does it take to engineer a city of the future? Just ask one of the teams of seventh- or eighth-grade students from 19 Ohio schools participating in the National Engineers Week Future City Competition -- Ohio Region on Saturday, Jan. 16 in Columbus. Indian Valley Middle School in Tuscarawas County is just one of those schools competing.

What began in 1992 as a modest project to encourage math and science skills and lay the foundation for a career in engineering has become the nation's largest engineering education program. This year, students from around Ohio will create future cities, complete with 3-D models, using SimCity 4 Deluxe software, donated by Electronic Arts Inc. All models must use recycled materials and can cost no more than $100.

Sponsored by the nation's professional engineering community, Future City aims to stir interest in science, technology, math and engineering among young people. This year, students from Indian Valley Middle School are working with the guidance of their teacher, Marilyn Kramer, and a volunteer engineer mentor to design and build a city of tomorrow.

In addition to designing a city of the future, students must conduct research for an essay on a pressing social need. The 2010 Future City essay asks students to provide affordable green living space for people who have lost their home due to a disaster or financial emergency. Essays must address all aspects of living arrangements.

Teams are eligible to compete for medals and awards in a variety of categories including: Best infrastructure, best use of recreation, best computer city design, best use of recycled materials, best water resources, rookie of the year and the people's choice city. The Ohio Region winning team (three students, teacher and engineer mentor) receives an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national finals on Feb. 13-16. Last year's national winning team came from Bexley.

The Future City Competition is a national, not-for-profit education program. More than 30,000 students in 1,100 schools in 38 regions nationwide are participating this year. The Ohio competition is made possible in part by Ford Motor Company and Battelle.