Students from four Child Center of NY sites across NYC (MS 72, MS 226 and Parsons Community School in Queens, and P.S./I.S. 217 on Roosevelt Island) presented their model “City of the Future” at the conclusion of a ten-week Young Engineers Program that taught the fundamentals of environmentally responsible city planning. The Young Engineers presented their models and discussed the many sustainable engineering concepts that went into their “City of the Future” as part of the Young Engineers Program.
The presentation started with a poll asking students which of the main activities (structural columns, bridges and building a future city) was their favorite. The Young Engineers responded overwhelming that they most enjoyed building a futuristic city. Several indicated that they especially enjoyed that activity because it gave them the opportunity to work collaboratively with their family members at home, and it afforded them the opportunity to make decisions about the choice of materials and designing techniques to implement, as well as how to best incorporate green technology. The models included a one family home with a parking lot and garden, a shopping center with hotels and electric cars, a futuristic library and a futuristic school for young superheroes, a recycling center with a park, pond, and apartments with solar panels. It was clear that the students learned to think like engineers. They identified the problems. They investigated. They imagined. They created. They tested their designs and communicated their findings to their virtual audience.
”STEAM careers are the jobs of the future. Our children need to be prepared if they are to succeed and compete in the 21st century global economy,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Deputy Commissioner Lee Llambelis. “The Young Engineers Program also exposes students to technical career opportunities they may not have considered before. Through these educational programs, we aim to expand their horizons, open their minds and maybe change their lives.”
Kevin Yeboah, Assistant Director at Beacon MS 226, stated, “Our students loved the program and learned so much about architecture and how it applies to their daily lives. They are more aware and have a greater appreciation of the intentional designs that surround them in New York City.”
Roxyanne Jones-Stark, Senior Program Director at the Child Center of NY, stated, “I am so pleased with the YEP program. It has opened a new awareness to engineering and the way to design buildings and cities. A very creative way to introduce STEAM to a middle school curriculum.”
Ronell John, Assistant Program Director at Parsons Community School, stated, “The YEP Program provided our students the opportunity to explore all aspects of engineering in innovative ways that allowed them to grasp complicated concepts in engaging ways. Living in NYC, we are surrounded by structurally historic buildings and world-renowned bridges. We can tend to take the majesty of this city for granted. This program provides the platform for young people to not only marvel at the gems in their hometown but also allows them to participate in the creative process that built this place. As a result, many of them can imagine themselves as engineers in their future. That is BIG! Excellent program!”
Employing the STEAM “Building the Future” curriculum, the students learned concepts such as the structural characteristics of 3D shapes, bridge engineering, constructing with I-beams, creating building models and sustainable technologies such as bioswales, tower gardens and green roofs. Students at each school then created their model “City of the Future” using those concepts and submitted photos or videos of their model to DDC STEAM.
Submissions were judged for their structural integrity, their demonstrated knowledge of the “Building the Future” curriculum, and innovative use of sustainable building concepts.
About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $14 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc