Scott Highlands Middle School Future City team with model city
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ROSEMOUNT, Minn. – Two teams of District 196 middle school students had top-five finishes and five teams won special awards at the Minnesota Future City regional competition Jan. 19.

Sponsored by the National Engineers Week Foundation, Future City is a national, project-based learning experience where middle school students imagine, research, design and build cities of the future that showcase their solutions to a citywide sustainability issue. This year’s theme is Powering Our Future! Teams were tasked with designing a resilient power grid for their future city that can withstand and quickly recover from the impacts of a natural disaster.

Students work as a team with a teacher and engineer mentor to design their virtual city using SimCity software. They also research and write a 1,500-word essay about their city, build a tabletop scale model with recycled materials, develop a project plan and make a presentation to judges at the regional competition. Regional winners represent their region at the national finals held in Washington, D.C. each February.

The Sin Kuren No Toshi team from Scott Highlands Middle School (pictured) took third place and won the award for Most Environmentally Friendly Power Source. Members of the team are Meris Catchings, Kyle Eull, Vik Murali, Elisabeth Nielsen, Alana Wick and Claire Wick. Teacher Theresa Back is their advisor and 3M Engineer Jim Kotsmith served as their engineer mentor.

The Titan team from Black Hawk Middle School earned honorable mention, finishing in the top five, and won the award for Best Rail Infrastructure. Team members are Chloe Breen, Tyler Burbey, Sam Cohen, Owen Ford, Carter Larson, Tia Rao and Thuy-Sa Truong. Teacher David Herem is the advisor and Russ Matthys, director of Public Works for the city of Eagan, volunteers as the team’s engineer mentor.

Team Kido Toshi of Valley Middle School of STEM won the People’s Choice Award, given to the team whose model receives the most votes from teachers, mentors and students participating in the competition. Members of the team are Vinnie Bilotta, Martin Brean, Wyatt Candella, Aidan Kuss, Logan Nelson, Kyle Olson and Axcel Yust. Teacher Sheri Gedlinske is the advisor and Ben Reilly of Drov Technologies is the team’s engineer mentor.

Team Neptune from Rosemount Middle School won the award for Safe Drinking Water, awarded to the team that uses the most innovative methods to protect and provide safe drinking water. Members of the team are Lilly Duckless, Summer Jensen, Ada VanderWiel, Hana VanderWiel and Sophie Vankeulen. Teachers Megan Lynsky and Alicia Dodge are the advisors and Steve VanderWiel of IBM is the team’s engineer mentor.

Team Le Meme Vivant from Scott Highlands won the award for Best Transportation System. Team members are Zac Byers, Shamitha Jampana, Noah Kujawski, Prince Mohapatra, Amrit Sarangi, Jack Skare and Ava Vaillant. Back is the advisor and Kotsmith is the mentor.

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