Future City Iowa inspires students to consider their career - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Future City Iowa inspires students to consider their future career

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Each year, dozens of Iowa middle school students take on a major project: to design and build a city of the future. The 12th annual Future City competition was held Saturday in Cedar Rapids.

The students each design a city using the Sim City 4000 program. They then build a scale model for presentation, and are asked to write essays about their concept. But, they also use their imaginations.

"We have an invisible rollercoaster, we have a mega mall," said eighth grader Nina Yu, from Cedar Rapids.

"My favorite part of the city is probably the windmill. Because you can turn it on and off," said Mason Gee, an eighth grader from Cedar Rapids.

The team from Clear Creek Amana Middle School thought up a truly green community.

"There's about 180 apartments in each tree, and each tree is in a tree village," said eighth grader Taylor Troxell.

The kids have fun with the projects, but they are also implementing real-world engineering concepts they've learned in the classroom.

"Ours is a volcanic geo-thermal, Bio-geo-thermal energy. We wanted to base on that and make sure everyone of our citizens is healthy and safe," said Yu.

"Our main source of power is our solar power plant, which is right here," Gee explained.

The competition aims to inspire kids to learn about the field of engineering. Many of the kids said, they're interested in studying the field in the future.

"I'm not sure what kind of engineering just yet. But being an engineer would be pretty fun I think, and it's like a cool job to go after. It's in high demand right now," said Gee.

Many of the original participants have turned it into their career.

"That's the best part! They'll come back for Christmas break and connect with me and say -- I'm an engineer, I'm in my first year at ISU. Or I'm at Iowa, I'm in the engineering program. One of them works at Rockwell and he's an aerospace engineer," said regional coordinator Jean Oberbroeckling.

Whether they ultimately go on to design the next bio-geo-thermal plant or not, all of the kids are learning valuable skills for the future.

"You can try new things and you'll definitely learn a lot from them. And try challenges, because you definitely can succeed in it," said Yu.

The winning team in Iowa receives a complimentary flight to Washington DC to participate in the national competition in February.

Each winning team member takes home a $1,000 college scholarship to enter the engineering program at ISU or the University of Iowa.

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