Middle School Students Design a City

In the Future City competition, students are asked, “How can we make the world a better place?” They answer by researching and proposing solutions to real-world engineering problems.

Future City is a regional and national engineering competition for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in which they design a city set 100 years in the future. Students work as a team to address problems of an existing city and engineer solutions. The 2019 Future City theme is “Powering Our Future,” and students are asked to design power grids that can withstand natural disasters.

The 7th and 8th grade Future City team at Morganton Day School has based their city on Lilongwe, Malawi, which suffers from earthquakes, flooding, and insufficient energy production. Using the existing terrain and population, students have redesigned the city with resilient power grids using multiple energy sources and sturdy infrastructure using energy-efficient design. They also addressed health, educational, and agricultural concerns.

Students design their city with software, build a scale model of their city, write an essay, and present their project to judges. Teams must use recycled materials and stay within a budget to build their model. The whole process fosters an interest in engineering and helps students develop research, writing, public speaking, problem solving, and project management skills.

MDS students will present their project at the state competition in Raleigh in January. In 2015, the team from MDS earned 4th place among the hundreds of entries. Additionally, MDS teams have won specialty awards for Best Sustainable Food Source; Best Transportation System; Best Management of Water Resources; and Most Creative City Essay.

Morganton Day is committed to education that prepares students to be responsible citizens and future leaders of our global community. Hands-on, inquiry-based learning is an essential part of that education.