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Future City Regional Competition goes virtual this weekend

Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 1:30 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live on the moon in 100 years? That’s what middle schoolers across the state of Iowa were tasked to do in this year’s Future City competition.

This competition focuses on combining skills from Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math or STEM subjects and they didn’t let the pandemic slow them down. The competition will be held virtually this year and the K-12 Director at NewBoCo Samantha Dahlby said that they could have just canceled because it would have been too hard, but they persevered after seeing summer camps and other opportunities for students disappear.

The skills students gain in this program go way past just STEM fields themselves.

Dahlby said, “STEM definitely plays a role in moving society forward and filling all these challenges and problem-solving. It really has students focus on how do I break down a big problem into smaller pieces and address that. A lot of times, I think, especially early on with STEM, the focus was on students going on to engineering roles or becoming chemists, or something you think that is really heavy science and there’s definitely [an] opportunity for that, but we’re starting to see a broader approach where students need to understand how to work with the engineers or work with the chemists or people in science”

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Normally students would meet in person to complete tasks with their future city, but this year they’ve faced obstacles of transitioning to virtual learning and in eastern Iowa, delays after the derecho. Many teams didn’t start work on the project until October or later when normally they would start in September, but with the virtual format this year they actually have more schools using their program in their STEM curriculum.

The purpose of the program and the competition is to show students the opportunities in STEM and mixing certain aspects they like into fulfilling careers.

“Our organization is really about exposing students to things that are out there,” Dahlby added, “We aren’t going to be able to cover all careers, but we can give activities and provide opportunities for students to explore that so that they can gain knowledge along the way, see what really engages them and what career combinations they may want to create.”

This is the 21st year for the Future City Iowa Regional Competition to highlight all the hard work of the teams involved and the winner will represent Iowa at the national competition later this spring.

The plan is to stream the regional competition live on their Facebook Page this Saturday. If you’re interested in volunteering or getting your kids involved next year, you can find more information on their website.

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