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Falcon Ridge students design future cities, receive awards at competition

If you could design your own future city, what would it look like?

Eighth-grade students at Falcon Ridge Charter School took on this broad question and created model future cities, which they entered in the Idaho Regional Future City Competition.

Three groups of students took home awards for their city designs, which featured natural disaster recovery plans, alternative energy concepts and more. The students presented their ideas to local organizations with city operation expertise.

“Engineers, architects … people who work in industry ask really specific questions, that’s where kids won awards,” said Heston Huwa, an eighth-grade teacher at Falcon Ridge Charter School. “(Industry workers) asked specific questions, such as how students planned to keep their city safe, engineering practices, when a volcano erupts how to minimize damage …”

Huwa’s students competed with 16 other schools at the 15th annual Idaho Regional Future City Competition in Boise Jan. 12. This year’s competition theme was resilient power grids. Students had to design cities around being resilient to, or could prevent, natural disasters.

Falcon Ridge Charter School students received the following awards:

n Best Protection of the Public’s Safety through Engineering Practices for Taree’uus

n Best Futuristic City for Yeetopolis

n Best Management of Water Resources for Falcon City

Creating a concept for their city required several parts. The cities were virtually built in SimCity. Students simulated running their city. They then had to organize a powerpoint presentation showing the city’s goals, approval ratings and more from the simulation. The students also had to write, essays describing types of futuristic technology they wanted to implement.

Students did a lot of research, Huwa said, such as reading about relief and mitigation efforts for Hurricane Harvey and earthquakes in Haiti. Students looked into problems from the disaster: getting food, clean water and power into the city.

Some students thought of mobile power stations, so that people could charge technology and so that not all areas of the city were without power at once. Others looked into alternative energy sources, such as from tidal waves.

“I was really proud of them,” Huwa said. “They do a great job, especially being only eighth-graders, managing so many moving parts: the essay, model, presentation … they had to communicate well. They did great job being project managers.”