For several years Southwest Middle School has participated in the Future City Competition, an engineering competition for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. This year’s theme was “resilient power grids in natural disasters.” The students were required to design a city that could sustainably bounce back after a major weather event.

In addition to support from their teacher, the students consulted with a professional engineering consultant.

The project required the students to develop a model using SimCity, a software for designing a city. The students reflected how well the software worked at demonstrating the repercussions of city planning, such as the consequences of zoning and tax changes.

The students were also required to write a 1,000 work essay explaining how transportation, housing and the electric grid in their city works to protect against natural disasters.

The students constructed three-dimensional models of the city mostly out of trash. The students were given a budget of up to $100 per model.

During competition the students delivered a seven-minute presentation. Both teams qualified for nationals; one team placed sixth overall at the national competition.