On Feb. 6, 2021 Leslee Avalos, Eric Camberos, and Adrian Carrillo, sixth graders from Bayside STEAM Academy, under the direction of their innovation teacher Miss Amanda Pelloth, participated in the virtual Future City Regional Competition.
Future City is a project-based engineering program where students imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future. Students involved in the Future City Competition spend countless hours creating their cities that could exist at least 100 years in the future. Each city must also incorporate a solution to an engineering design challenge. This year’s challenge, Living on the Moon, asked students to use two Moon resources to keep citizens safe and healthy. At the competition students are required to present their four deliverables including a project plan, city essay, city model presentation, and city model video to multiple engineers from different engineering fields. The students then had to defend their innovations and city design in a 10 minute question and answer round.
Aside from the engineering challenge, this year’s Future City team persevered through the extra challenges of distance learning due to COVID. As the team began their research, they learned that it is important to gather information from multiple sources including reading case studies, articles, listening to podcasts, and interviewing subject matter experts. Last year, while showcasing their model at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG construction trade show, the Future City team made a connection with Branch Technology, an innovative construction 3D printing company based on the East Coast whose mission is to bridge the gap between science, technology, and business. Branch Technology has won portions of the NASA Mars habitat challenge and the Future City team knew they would be the perfect fit for an interview considering this year’s challenge being about using Moon resources to design a city on the Moon.
The team had a wonderful experience drafting their interview questions and getting them answered by one of Branch Technology’s research and design experts.
Once the interview had ended, one of the students thoughtfully said, “You know, I have been thinking, if it had not been for COVID and distance learning, we would not have had the experience or skills to be able to successfully conduct an online interview. I am grateful that we are learning these computer and life skills.”
While COVID and distance learning has come with its own set of challenges, it is nice to be reminded of the little silver linings and positive benefits. In the end, the team’s hard work and dedication paid off.
Out of the sixth, seventh and eighth grade teams that competed, the Bayside STEAM Academy team won second place and blew the judges away with their city design and deliverables!
They also won the “Rookie of the Year” special award for being one of the youngest, most successful teams. Their teacher is “over the Moon” proud of the extraordinary effort these students put into their project.
Congratulations, Team Lunarville!