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Future City is a nationwide effort to involve young students (6th-8th grades) in a competition utilizing STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) research, processes, and procedures. This year’s planning and executions was based around the theme, “The Power of Public Space,” and the city had to be 100 years in the future. Shawnee Heights Elementary School (USD 450), has fielded a team the past two years with guidance Mrs. Gina Sobba, who is the gifted facilitator at SHES. She has been assisted both years by Mr. Jim Martin, a retired local engineer, as the team mentor.

This year’s theme  “The Power of Public Space” challenged the team and they chose to apply their ideas to a local area within the City of Topeka which made the challenge very much a real-world experience for them. The students took a field trip to the Ritchie House and Brown vs. Board to learn more about the area and history of Topeka. They also had the chance to interview local experts and applied that knowledge to their project.

This effort began in August 2016 and ended with the Regional competition in January 2017.

This year’s Great Plains Region (KS, CO, MO) competition was held in Manhattan at Kansas State University (which alternates each year with KU). 52 teams (4 Elementary and 48 Middle School) competed for cash prizes (for the schools), special awards, and a chance to go to Washington DC.

Initial competition rounds reduced the finalists to five for the final round. SHES placed 12th overall of the 52 teams, only 8 points from the 5th place team. They were the only Elementary School to place that high with 205 points vs 213 point for the 5th place team. They also received a special recognition with the, “No Place Like Home Award” which came with a $200 technology grant sponsored by Bartlett and West for the best future city located in the Great Plains Region.

Heartland Visioning has the honor of hearing the presentation at Steering Committee, Friday, February 10, 7:30-9:00 AM at Washburn Tech. 

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The National Society of Professional Engineers along with many engineering, science, and technology firms sponsor and fund the program. Regional competitions are held and lead to a National final competition in Washington D.C. The competition requires each team to complete a written essay, SimCity computer simulation, scale model and presentation.