FMS team places first in regional Future City Competition for second year

Team advances to national competition in Washington, D.C.

A group of approximately 20 middle school students pose with their first place medals

On January 13, the Farnsworth Middle School Future City team won first place in the Future City regional competition for the second year in a row. The FMS team competed against eight other Capital Region schools, to advance to the national competition, which will be held in Washington, D.C., Feb. 16-19.

A hands-on, cross-curricular educational program with a STEM focus, Future City designates a theme and a challenge for the school year’s competition. With the 2023-2024 theme of “electrify your future!”, teams were tasked with designing a 100% electrically-powered city that uses clean energy sources.

A model of He Hika, the city designed and created by the FMS Future City team.

The twenty-student team created He Hika, a city located on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand, which operates on hydropower, biomass, geothermal and hydrogen as energy sources. Able to only spend $100, the students built a model of their city made entirely of recycled materials which illustrated their design and thinking. Eco-domes were used as agricultural zones to feed residents, with each dome divided into six sections. The domes are monitored by artificial intelligence to grow crops that are not native to the area, while ensuring all food gets the nutrients it needs. The city also contains a gondola, created with a pulley system and motors, and an electromagnetic train, crafted from copper wire, a battery and magnets. He Hika features funnel residential buildings that incorporate communal gardens for all residents and a building named for each member of the FMS team.

Beginning in October and over several months, the FMS team researched, designed and built the model of He Hika. As required for the competition, the students created four project plans, wrote an essay and a script. In December, they voted to select three members who would represent the team and lead the presentation at the competition. These representatives presented the script, which described He Hika, and went through an eight-minute question-and-answer session conducted by judges. As part of their overall project presentation, the FMS team invited two guest speakers from the Town of Guilderland to discuss zoning practices.

Members of the FMS Future City team receive their medals and congratulations from elected officials and judges.

In addition to overall first place, the FMS team won six speciality awards: Best Presentation, Best Essay, Best Green Architecture, Most Sustainable Transportation System and Most Innovative Use of Green Space for Community.

Congratulation to the entire FMS Future City team, their advisors and mentors; best of luck in the national competition!

Om Bhagat
Anika Bhupati (presenter)
Jackie Emans
Levi Hawrylchak (presenter)
Justin Jian
Brian Jiang
Dhruv Kalapala
Jackson Kearney
Aadya Mavuleti
Shlok Prabhushettar
Vachan Prabhushettar
Cooper Radler
Darshana Saravanakumar (presenter)
Andrew Smith
Akshit Thindi
Natalie Tucker
Frederick Wolfe
Niko Wood-Irvin
Aditshiva Yalla
Rohan Yerram

Rebecca Been, Advisor
Kelly Werner, Advisor
Nancy Behrens, Teacher Mentor
Jennifer Smith, Plug Power, Engineer Mentor

About Future City Competition

Future City Competition is an educational program for middle school students to explore their creative and innovative imaginations to design a city of the future. Students learn how to apply math, science, engineering and technology to develop a realistic future community and compete for regional prizes, including a trip to Washington, D.C. to compete in the national competition.

Each year, over 60,000 students, representing 1,800 schools and 38 regions in the US, take part in the Future City Competition. Teams present their ideas at Regional Competitions in January. United States regional winners then face off at the Future City Finals, where they are joined by a growing roster of international teams, including those from Canada and China. Taking place in Washington D.C., Feb. 16-19, 2024, during Engineers Week, the exciting competition culminates with one team taking home the grand prize including $7,500 for their school’s STEM program (provided by Finals sponsor Bentley Systems) and a STEM experience.

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