Students from 45 middle schools maneuvered model cities down hallways and into elevators at USC Aiken’s Business and Education building on Saturday.
They have spent the past few months researching and designing a solution to a city-wide challenge for the Future City regional competition. This year’s challenge to students was to design an age-friendly city.
Prior to the event, students were required to submit a 1,500 word essay, a project plan and then use SimCity to design the virtual city.
Then they designed a 3D model of the city using materials such as cardboard, soda bottles and plastic containers to present to judges at the competition on Saturday. First-place winners from each regional competition receive a trip to the Future City National Finals in February in Washington, D.C.
Last year, a team from St. Mary on the Hill Catholic School received the title and spent five days in the nation’s capital. They are hoping for a repeat of that this year. Eighth-graders Caleb Acree, Tyler Lennox and James Lint are members of one team and designed the city of Divitaepolis, which means “the city of wealth” in Latin. They chose to base it off Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand.
“We chose this location in Wellington, New Zealand because it has a lot of natural resources,” Acree said in the team’s presentation.
The three boys dressed as citizens from different age ranges in their presentation to represent the age-friendly city.
Eighth-grade science teacher John Allen and mentor Dewayne Acree have been working with the students throughout the process.
“We started working on this project in August, just as soon as we get to school,” Allen said.
Dewayne Acree, who has a background in science and engineering, has been working with the team to ensure they meet all of the judging requirements.
“(I work toward) getting them to understand the minute parts and how it’s graded and how to use the materials to represent it and work as a team to do that,” Acree said.