Students from across our region, including Lionville Middle School, voice their ideas of our future cities.
Nearly 33,000 future engineers, the children who will one day support and design our infrastructure, have been participating in the Future City program, a large project based engineering experience. Students are imagining, designing and building cities of the future. They are working as a team with their teacher and engineer mentor to plan cities using SimCity™ 4 Deluxe software. They are gearing up for the Future City Competition. The Philadelphia competition will take place Saturday, January 28th. The 1st place team will advance to National Finals held in Washington, DC. the week of February 17–22, 2012.
Local schools, businesses, and engineers have all been involved in the process. Schools that will be competing in our area include Downingtown Middle School, Lionville Middle School, Ss Philip and James, and West Vincent Elementary School. Bentley Systems is a proud sponsor of the competition and several engineers from the company have been mentoring students, including Dan Koval, a Technical Support Engineer. Bentley Sytem’s CEO, Greg Bentley, is a strong believer in Future City and says it’s his “favorite day of the year.”
Dan Koval has been visiting an eighth grade class at Lionville Middle School on a regular basis and has had the pleasure of getting to know the principal, teacher, and students who are all very excited to compete in this year’s competition. He has provided some insight into the program and is very excited to attend the upcoming competition.
Lionville Middle School students, teacher, principal, and engineer mentor have been hard at work doing the things that engineers do—identify problems; brainstorming ideas; designing solutions; testing, retesting, building, and now they are ready to share their results.
When you walk into the eighth grade class at Lionville Middle School, you will find a teacher, Mr. Raines, leading, instructing, and participating. You will see the principal, Mr. Ross, speaking to the class of future engineers, and it is clear the reason the students are excited. The students are excited because the teacher is excited; and the teacher is excited, because Principal Ross is excited.
It is evident from the first moment you hear him speak that Mr. Ross does not hold back, and is quick to show his passion for education and his love for what the students can do. He believes in each of the students and his fire is so contagious that his students are enthusiastic, excited, and willing to work. They are the exact opposite of what you would expect from a class of eighth graders.
The final days of the project are coming quick and the students are honing in on what they want their model to look like. The Sim City model is done, the essays are written, and the presentations are being perfected. The big project, the physical model, is going to take some work. Mr. Raines is less like an instructor now, and more like a hands on maestro.
Not only is he organizing all the inner workings of the class to make sure everyone has a voice and hand in the construction of the model, he himself is there in the “trenches” painting, measuring, making, thinking, asking, writing, cutting, gluing, and all out running around like a chicken with his read removed.
But again, as you take a step back, there is always a common thread of organization to the chaos. A simple heart beat that links the students to one another. They are the first.
Just as Principal Ross stated, no matter what happens, no matter what place trophy they bring home, they will all be able to hang their heads high and look back; they were the first class at Lionville Middle School to take on this challenge.
And for these young pioneers, just being there is enough to be proud of.