Wheatland Students Place 5th Overall at Prestigious STEAM Competition
On Saturday, January 26, 2019, Wheatland’s team Mount Bliss, placed 5th overall out of 53 schools. The team of 5 also received two additional special awards. The Mount Bliss Team received “Exemplary Model” and “Best use of Recreational Space” both from the American Society of Civil Engineers for their design and model. Team member Jaini Beck said, “It was really fun. I feel that these skills might help me in the future because it should increase my ability to speak in front of large crowds and to better understand people and their ideas. When my team and I found out we were in the finals, we were close to tears.” Jaini Beck was a 7th grade member of Mount Bliss and this is her 2nd year participating in the contest.
The Future Cities Competition is put on my STEMForward and is held at MSOE in Milwaukee. It is a rigorous project using engineering concepts throughout 5 deliverables. Teams began in September using the Engineering Design Process and Project Management cycle to create a Virtual City using SimCity, write an essay on this year’s theme, make a project plan, create a model of their Future City to scale, and do a presentation in front of a panel of judges from various engineering disciplines.
All competing teams spent all morning presenting to a panel of judges to answer all types of questions related to health care, transportation and use of recreational space. Two teams from Wheatland School District participated in the event. The top 5 teams then presented again in front of their peers and a different panel of judges for a chance to go to Washington DC. “It is a great experience for students to really immerse themselves in an authentic, hands-on, cross-curricular project. Students build their skills in communication, writing, science, and social studies as well as learn about future career options in STEM related fields,” stated Wheatland teacher Kandi Horton, who has led this project for the past 3 years at Wheatland. Jessica Ormonde, an 8th grader at Wheatland, commented, “My favorite part of the event was the fact that we were asked questions that we had never thought about and had to come up with an answer on the spot. We had to really show what we knew about the topics.”
The theme of this year’s Future City Competition was “Powering Our Future” where students were tasked to create a resilient power grid for their future city that can withstand and quickly recover from the impacts of a natural disaster. Wheatland’s Mount Bliss team created a power resilient city using microgrids, wind power with retractable windmills, solar power, and a wave farm capturing the power of the ocean at their Ocean Research Center. The city was imagined by the team as a result of the earthquake and Tsunami in Fukushima, Japan that caused the nuclear meltdown and displaced over 150,000 people from the city in 2011. Mount Bliss is a futuristic city that uses all renewable, clean energy to power its thriving city.