Science Classes Win Engineering Awards

Dallas Academy’s middle school science students traveled to the University of Texas at Arlington on Saturday, January 23rd to compete in the annual National Engineers Future City Competition. Science teacher Amy Delaney led Dallas Academy seventh and eighth grade students through the months of preparation involved in researching, designing, and creating two successful competition submissions. Dallas Academy competed against over fifty projects from public, private, and charter schools throughout the Metroplex and returned to campus with numerous awards. 

Future City is one of the most anticipated projects for seventh and eighth grade students at Dallas Academy. The national competition tasks middle school science students with designing and creating a city one hundred and fifty years in the future which solves a problem facing humanity. This years' theme is "Waste Not, Want Not: Rethinking Solid Waste Management Solutions."  Ms. Delaney, along with the support of Anna Smith, Sam Ratliff, and parent engineering volunteer Mark Mihm, spent the fall preparing students for competition day. In September, the competition theme is announced and students from around the nation eagerly began the process of brainstorming their cities. Students must create a computer simulation, write an essay and narrative, and build a scale model of their city of the future. In addition to the designing and building, each group must be prepared to present their city to a panel of UTA judges, local engineers, as well as their competitors on the day of the competition.

An audience of over five hundred people packed the college auditorium on Saturday to view the fifty-six submissions and to hear the group presentations. Dallas Academy’s seventh grade class created their city of the future called Pachamama which is located in Peru. Making their city unique was the use of an electromagnetic landfill mining robot (ELMR) to comb through their garbage island. They also created an incentive program to encourage their citizens to recycle. Presenting for the team was Marin Plemons, Amber Hill, Kade Findley, and Xander Davis. The team advanced to the final round of competition which included six submissions and ultimately placed 4th, missing the 3rd place spot by under eighteen points and only thirty-eight points from the 1st place team. Dallas Academy’s seventh grade team won the People's Choice Award for the best scale model, which is voted on by all of the participants, students, and faculty. The team also won the award for "Excellence in City Design.”

Dallas Academy’s eighth grade team created their city of the future called Bei Xin Sheng which is located in China. Their city was unique for being the densest city in the competition as well as being a port city. Presenting for the team were John Ridge, Halyna Ziegler, Jake Mayor, and Adiel Sanchez. The team won the award for "Excellence in Engineering Practices" for their integrated use of plasma recycling, landfill mining, and pneumatic waste tubes. An interesting note was that Dallas Academy’s eighth grade team scored higher than the 5th and 6th place teams, but only one team per school is allowed to advance into the finals which consists of six projects.

Dallas Academy is so proud of the success of both our seventh and eighth grade students in another year of Future City competition. Ms. Delaney and the faculty of Dallas Academy appreciate how this competition focuses on the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in a fun and creative way. Dallas Academy students were proud of the hard work they dedicated to this project and look forward to competing again next year.