Carnegie Science Center Invites Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Graders To Explore Urban Agriculture

Pittsburgh, Aug. 29, 2014 – Carnegie Science Center is now accepting registrations for middle-school teams to compete in the 2014-2015 Future City® Competition, a program of DiscoverE. Future City is a national, project-based learning experience in which students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade imagine, design, and build cities of the future. For the region comprising western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Carnegie Science Center manages the competition as a program of its Chevron Center for STEM Education and Career Development.

Each year, the competition asks the students to focus on a theme. This year’s theme, Feeding Future Cities, encourages students to explore today’s urban agriculture – from aeroponic systems for rooftop farms to recycled gray water to the sustainability-driven farm-to-table movement – and to develop a futuristic solution to growing crops within the confines of their city. Many experts now predict that, in the coming decades, the Earth’s arable land will no longer be sufficient to produce enough food for the planet’s growing population. At the same time, nearly all of the world’s population growth between now and 2030 will be concentrated in urban areas. With these two critical concerns converging, farming in and around cities will be essential to feeding the world’s population. The urban agriculture movement is one of the most important solutions to the urgent effort to ensure that the global community has access to fresh, affordable and healthy food.


Working in a team with an educator and engineer mentor, students are challenged to design a virtual city using SimCity™ software. They will research today’s urban farms and write an essay describing their solution to feeding their citizens. Students then will bring their ideas to life by building a tabletop scale model of their city using recycled materials on a budget of $100 or less and will write a brief narrative promoting their city. The Pittsburgh regional teams will present their ideas before judges at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015. The winner will compete with winners of 36 other regional competitions at the National Finals in Washington, DC, in February. Major funding for the National Finals comes from Shell Oil Company, Bentley Systems and Bechtel Corporation.


“It’s always exciting to see how young kids envision the future,” said Lisa Kosick, who coordinates Carnegie Science Center’s regional competition. “Teachers always tell us that the students learn so much about teamwork and problem-solving, and they get so absorbed in their months-long projects. Students tell us they have a lot of fun! We think that Future City is a fantastic way to introduce kids to some pretty sophisticated engineering concepts, and to get them thinking about possible careers in engineering and other STEM fields.” Last school year, 40 schools participated, and even more participants are anticipated for the upcoming competition.

Nationally, more than 40,000 students, representing 1,350 schools, take part each year in the Future City® Competition. The deadline for schools to register is October 15, 2014. Schools may register today or learn more at Students, teachers, and prospective volunteers are urged to visit the Facebook page for more information and updates on the Future City® Competition.


About Carnegie Science Center
Carnegie Science Center is dedicated to inspiring learning and curiosity by connecting science and technology with everyday life. By making science both relevant and fun, the Science Center’s goal is to increase science literacy in the region and motivate young people to seek careers in science and technology. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Science Center is Pittsburgh’s premier science exploration destination, reaching more than 700,000 people annually through its hands-on exhibits, camps, classes, and off-site education programs.

About Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh
Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1895, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is a collection of four distinctive museums dedicated to exploration through art and science: Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum. Annually, the museums reach more than 1.2 million people through exhibitions, educational programs, outreach activities, and special events.

About DiscoverE
The mission of DiscoverE is to sustain and grow a dynamic engineering profession through outreach, education, celebration and volunteerism. DiscoverE supports a network of thousands of volunteers in its partner coalition of more than 100 professional societies, major corporations and government agencies. Together we meet a vital need: introducing students, parents, and educators to engineering, engaging them in hands-on engineering experiences and making science and math relevant. For more information, visit