There are unquestionably budding engineers in Grade 7 of the Wilbraham & Monson Academy Middle School.
Competing in the Future City New England competition for the first time, all three Middle School teams came away with an award at the 2019-20 event, which was held Jan. 26 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
The three groups were judged for visual city design, an essay, model, presentation and project plan.
WMA’s Atlas Valley team was named the second runner-up among 38 teams, Titan Cove won the Public Safety Award, and Rubicon Falls was crowned the winner of the Sustainability Award.
Mr. Jamie Gouin on adding Future City to the Grade 7 Science curriculum: “We felt that we needed more engineering design in seventh grade. We had a lot of earth sciences and human health, and adding engineering design sets up our curriculum better. Adding a piece like Future City was huge. It also gave the kids opportunities to work in different areas, anywhere from teamwork to essay writing to model building. Instead of just STEM we used STEAM, which added art to the process.”
Mr. Gouin on how the Grade 7 students performed at the New England competition: “I could not have been happier. The students were professional as soon as we got there. We set up our stands and set up our models. There were judges and people inquiring about their cities. They were well rehearsed and practiced to make sure every team member had some insight. They were well spoken throughout the day, and the way they represented the school we could not have asked for anything more.”
Mr. Gouin on the Atlas Valley team placing third overall: “We had to have three teams. Atlas Valley had some kids from one block and some kids from another block. That presented an extra challenge for them. They did a fantastic job of finding ways to create group chats, to leave each other Post-it notes when they were working on their models or essays, to use Google Classrooms, to meet during office hours and directed studies and lunches to communicate with each other. That was impressive. To put all that together to earn third place is even more impressive. That group jelled well together.”
Brooke McLaughlin ’25 on the experience of presenting at the event: “It was nerve-wracking at first but I think it was beneficial to my education because I got to present in front of people and I think it will help me in the future with public speaking.”
Sarah Henderson ’25 on the Atlas Valley team earning third place: “I thought it was great we got an award. I’m really proud of all the hard work we did this year in Future City.”
Javier Herrera ’25 regarding attending the event: “It was a very good experience for everyone to work as a team. To be in that moment, it was very exciting and cool. To understand that not working with your best friend isn’t going to matter. For you to be able to work and utilize your skills, you can get things done even if you aren’t with your best friend. That’s what I learned. I enjoyed the experience.”