Local young engineers designing the cities of tomorrow

NEW LEBANON, N.Y. (NEWS10) – After qualifying for nationals in the “Future Cities Engineering Competition” for the last two years, the New Lebanon Middle School are preparing for this year’s regional competition on Saturday.

This year’s team is made up of smart, intuitive middle-schoolers, just like last year.

Students were given a specific problem current real-world cities deal with and were tasked with creating an innovative future version of that city to solve the problem.

Students at New Lebanon created “Renswyck”, a revamped mock-up of the City of Troy.

Renswyck is a city based on tourism in the 2116. Renswyck had problems with crime, crumbling infrastructure, and a lack of public spaces. New Lebanon’s crack team of young engineers designed ways to fix those problems.

Now, Renswyck has a futuristic maglev transportation system that runs above the streets. The streets are now for pedestrian use only.

Air and noise pollution don’t exist because the city no longer uses fossil fuels. Instead, the team designed fuel cells and wind turbines to keep the city running.

Students used recycled goods and a lot of teamwork to accomplish their goals on time.

“We had different people working on the industrial part of the buildings, and the historical, and underneath so we can heave everything working as one,” said Eliza Pond, a 7th grader.

“It did get a little rowdy at times because people were all over the place trying to do different stuff,” said Aloka Gale, an 8th grader. “It got a little hectic but everything was fun and organized overall.”

Seventh and eighth grade math teacher Mary Beth Liles says the competition helps the students learn about responsibility and develop a work ethic.

“I think my team this year especially has started to understand the importance of deadlines and having work completed with quality on time,” said Liles.

The team had to plan out every step on calendars, stick to their specific jobs, and pay close attention to detail the same way real engineers would.

If they didn’t stay on task a catastrophic breakdown would occur in Renswyck, like a bridge or building falling down.

The students say there were some sticking points during the process, but they worked through them as a team.

“You learn a lot about the engineering process and what it’s like to be an engineer,” said 8th grader Jayden Tompkins. “They give you a problem and you have to solve it on a certain deadline and meet all the criteria and requirements.”

“I think it teaches us how to make the world better,” said 7th grader Forest Chaput. “How to futurise and make problems into solutions.”

The future cities of our world will be built by someone, and a few New Lebanon students say they want to be engineers just because of this competition.

“I’m planning to be an engineer, because I like solving problems,” said 8th grader Jayden Tompkins. “ I just want to learn more.”

“I’ve wanted to be an engineer for a while because I like to build stuff,” said 7th grader Ben Chaput. “With this, it’s more insight into how to be an engineer.”

Renswyck is up for judging at the regional competition this weekend. New Lebanon won there last year, and is hoping for another W and another trip to nationals.

The team had to plan everything out on calendars, stick to their specific jobs and pay close attention to detail the same way real engineers would, or there could be a catasropgic breakdown in renswyck  like a bridge or building falling; the experience has birthed engirneers of the future.


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