HEBRON – Where in the world is Woo-roo-ma City?
It’s in the hearts and minds of Lakewood Middle School’s Future City team, which won second place statewide for its design during the Future City Competition, last Saturday, at Columbus State.
The Future City Competition is a national, project-based learning experience where students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade imagine, design, and build cities of the future. Students work as a team with an educator and engineer mentor to plan cities using Sim-City 4 Deluxe software; research and write solutions to an engineering problem; build tabletop scale models with recycled materials; and present their ideas before judges at regional competitions.
The cross-curricular educational program provides students an opportunity to be young engineers and participate in the engineering design process-identify problems, brainstorm ideas, design solutions, test and build, and share their results.
“It’s getting kids excited about things they normally wouldn’t be excited about,” said Holly Graham, a project mentor along with engineering mentor Vern Johnston.
Seventh grader and Future City team member Makenna Riley said she had a chance to travel to Australia as part of an ambassador program, and learned “Woo-rooma” is aboriginal for “Westerly Wind.” Her team agreed it was a perfect name for their imaginary city, which actually contains no roads – all vehicles pilot themselves automatically.
Eighth grader and team member Shelby Graham said the project utilizes Piezoelectricity and seventh grader and team member Nick Andujar said the team created its own motor to turn parts of the model. Most team members agreed the most fun and challenging part of the project was creating the model Woo-roo-ma City. “I had a hard time with the superglue,” said Riley.
Students participating in Future City apply math and science concepts to real-world issues. They develop writing, public speaking, problem solving, and time management skills, as well as research and propose solutions to engineering challenges. Future City team members discover different types of engineering and explore career options, learn how their communities work and become better citizens, and they develop strong teamwork skills.
Lakewood Middle School science teacher Pamela Hundley, who’s been the Future City project advisor for a dozen years, said the Lakewood team placed second out of 18 schools statewide.
Woo-roo-ma received special awards for innovative solutions for water and wastewater utilities and computer city design.
Seventh grader and team member Abby Smith explained that in Woo-roo-ma, storm water and grey water are processed in the same treatment plant-an award winning idea.
Andujar, Riley, and Shelby Graham presented the project to the judges at Columbus State, and other team members included Smith, Anthony Toskin, Brittany Foster, Cameron Kyle, Devyn Sowry, Jacob Daignault, Jen Spires, Jimmy Morrison, Katelyn Harper, Mavrick Ford, Chip Williams, Samantha Dorris, Scott Hartman, Ross Jones, and Logan Newhouse.