Students work to solve real world problems through civil engineering competition

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Dozens of science-driven students from schools across the region gathered under one roof Saturday to show city models they created. Each year in the Future City Regional Competition, students are given a civil engineering based problem to solve.

“Our city has street lights, and along the edge, it has a river that is very polluted, and it’s located in New Delhi, India,” explained Lulu Underwood, a student at Decatur Middle School.

Many of the students have been working on projects since the beginning of their semester.

Saturday they put those projects to the test.

“We had several, several team meetings,” said Underwood.

Some cities we’re built with underground plumbing. Others were built with water filtration systems and working lights.

“I actually did most of the lighting on our project,” Underwood added.  “Under the model, there’s actually a bunch of wires that I soldered myself.”

The name of the game is creating environments that offer solutions to things like pollution and access to transportation.

“We put a water system there that sucks up very fast, and the tubes actually have sensors so that we can filter microplastics and algae,” said Underwood.

One of the biggest benefits of the competition is exposing youth to endless ideas and opportunities in the world of STEM.

“In the beginning, I completely thought, ‘I’m never going to be able to do this at all.’ But it turned out to be a lot of fun and helpful,” Underwood added.

Huntsville City Schools’ Academy for Science and Foreign Language won first place for its city model.

The school will go on to compete in the national competition in Washington D.C., where they finished in second place in 2019.

Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Satsuma placed second, and Austin Junior High School in Decatur placed third.

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