Region – Bancroft's Middle School won the “Future City” regional competition held at Northeastern University Jan. 22 against dozens of qualifying middle school teams from throughout the region. More than 35,000 students from 1,300 middle schools have participated nationwide. The winning team from each qualifying regional competition receives an all-expenses-paid trip to the Future City National Finals in Arlington, Va., Feb. 18 to 22.
After spending many weeks preparing for the competition as part of their MS Future City Club, Bancroft eighth-graders Jacqueline Barnes, of Hopkinton; Aurea De Souza, of South Grafton; Sarah Kotin, of Shrewsbury; and Kathryn Price, of Holden, submitted their project and newly named city, “Peraditi.”
The theme this year for all 35,000 participants nationwide was “Fuel Your Future.” Students were asked to choose one energy source and design a way to generate electric power for their city that does not deplete natural resources and has a limited impact on the environment. In Peraditi, solar panels and wind towers have an important presence, but their plan also called for humans to produce energy from local gyms. Treadmill use is a requirement for all citizens, with tax rebates for high performance and waivers for the elderly or physically challenged.
Roger Jones is the head of the Middle School.
“I's so impressed by the team's independence, creativity and hard work with this project,” Jones said. “While they received some guidance from Grade 8 English teacher Sarah Williams, they were on their own through much of this project.”
Teams are judged by a panel of engineering professionals on their presentation, virtual city design, physical model, research essay and city narrative. Student teams plan and design virtual cities with SimCity 4 software (donated by Electronic Arts), build physical models with recycled materials and have a budget of just $100. They also have to research and write a solution to an engineering problem, write a narrative describing their city, and present their ideas before a panel of judges.
Jacqueline spent so much time working outside the classroom on her project with teammates that she never expected to win the competition with their unique energy-building concept.
“We were just shocked. The idea for our treadmills came out after some brainstorming with my team,” she said. “We thought about how hamsters can run on a wheel to produce energy then why couldn's humans run on treadmills? Then we learned that in fact there are some gyms in Australia and Hong Kong where the treadmill is used to power the facility. Why not a city?”
Williams proposed bringing Future City to the School only last year.
“I'se seen the energy and excitement firsthand at other middle schools and thought Bancroft students would excel with an engineering challenge like this one,” she said. “I's very proud of the girls” creative solutions that landed them top in New England.”
To learn more about Future City, visit www.futurecity.org.