By Belinda Raines
As part of its outreach mission to support ceramic and glass education, the Ceramic and Glass Industry Foundation, along with ACerS Corporate Partner Allied Mineral Products, supported the 2021 Future City Competition for the Ohio Region.
Future City is a project-based learning program where students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future. This year’s theme was “Living on the Moon.” Teams designed a futuristic lunar city and provided examples of how the city uses two Moon resources to keep its residents safe and healthy.
Allied Mineral Products sponsored the Best Use of Ceramics Award, which was won by Remote Learning Academy of Dublin, Ohio. In addition to winning this special award, Remote Learning Academy was the winner of the Ohio competition and will compete with 40 other regional winners in the national competition finals in April.
Dr. Beau Billet, laboratory manager at the Edward Orton Jr. Ceramic Foundation and ACerS Central Ohio Section Chair, served as a judge for the Best Use of Ceramics Award. “The students that participated in the 2021 Future City Competition have creativity paired with an understanding of ceramics,” explained Dr. Billet. “Looking forward to the future with its Orbital Cities protected by ceramic heat shields!”
Other judges for the award were Ryan Hershey and Rick Steinke, both of Allied Mineral Products.
To understand how to do well in competing for the Best Use of Ceramics Award, teams are told that those cities that incorporate traditional ceramics (plaster, cement, bricks, tableware, glass, tile, ceramic magnets, etc.) as well as more advanced ceramics (superconducting magnets for Maglev, filters for purifying water, tile for spacecraft thermal insulation, optical fibers, electronics, sensors, solar panels, and other advanced structural applications) will score high. Team members should understand ceramics and be able to describe why its properties are important for various applications.
Future City is one of the nation’s leading engineering education programs and has received national recognition and acclaim for its role in encouraging middle schoolers to develop their interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Interestingly, The American Ceramic Society (ACerS) was pivotal in launching the Ohio Region of Future City. Its first competition was held at the Engineering Complex at The Ohio State University in January 1999. That first year was a pilot year to “test the waters” of school interest. Dr. Nadine Hinton and Dr. Sue Amidon of Westerville City Schools led the initiative in partnership with ACerS. Seventeen teams from 14 different schools participated .
In the fall of 1999, Dr. Dan Fleisch of Wittenberg University teamed with Aimee Zerla and Mark Glasper of ACerS and Lisa Huelskamp of Westerville City Schools to move the event beyond a pilot program and create a statewide initiative. The group recruited more schools and judges to participate.
In subsequent years, the Ohio Regional Competition has moved to various locations in central Ohio including the The Ohio State University, The American Ceramic Society headquarters, the Center of Science and Industry, Columbus State Community College, and most recently, the Eastland-Fairfield Career Center.
Beyond Ohio, the ACerS Pittsburgh Section has been a long-time supporter of the Pittsburgh Regional Future City Competition.
The Future City Competition, at the state and national levels, remains a unique learning experience. Thanks to the time, energy, and expertise of many, the CGIF through its support hopes to inspire and encourage future generations of young people for years to come.