Islip Middle School students in the district’s EXCEL program recently gave an exceptional presentation of their Future City project to a panel of judges consisting of school and district administrators.
DiscoverE’s national, project-based engineering program Future City enables students in grades 6-8 to imagine, research, design and build cities of the future using “SimCity” software. Islip EXCEL students have been competing in the annual regional Future City competition in New York City for over a dozen years, winning first place in 2014, 2016 and 2019 and representing New York at the Future City National Finals in Washington, D.C.
This year, their planned participation in the regional tristate event did not occur due to the pandemic, but EXCEL coordinator Julia Johnson and her students decided to go ahead with their project, presenting it within the district. Their planned city of Sedari, set in 2172 on the formerly polluted Citarum River in West Java, Indonesia, utilizes their “ACE” system of advanced hydroelectric power. It also features personal and mass transportation powered by solar energy, environmentally friendly “eco-pod” homes, and the elimination of plastics and paper through the use and marketing of “sedarite” made from the wax of native bees.
After their presentation, this year’s Future City team – including seventh graders Hannah Dolan, Lily Dolan, Sofia Marra and Ava Mirenda, and eighth graders Nelysa Petersen and Jadyn Zink – answered detailed questions from the educators regarding their city’s financing, housing, citizenship, defense and leisure activities.
“My favorite part of Future City was being able to collaborate as a team to learn and create a beautiful project at the same time,” Mirenda said.
“The Future City experience combines the greatest level of depth and breadth of so much that I strive to teach, not merely because the students become so well-versed in engineering, science, math and ELA skills, but because of the interpersonal skills, the communication, organization, work ethic and life skills that will help them moving forward in whatever field they choose to pursue in life,” Johnson said.