In keeping with our efforts to ensure PM Knowledgeable Youth, PMIEF sponsors a US$ 1,000 special award each year for the Best Future City Project Plan at the national competition for Future City, the preeminent U.S. engineering contest for students in grades 6 through 8. A program of DiscoverE (formerly the National Engineers Week Foundation), Future City challenges teams of young people to ideate and to design a city of the future using recycled materials while addressing environmental and social issues through their work.
The 2016-17 Future City theme was “The Power of Public Spaces,” which asked students to envision tomorrow’s urban public spaces and how best to meet the needs of diverse populations. In addition to creating a tabletop model that brought their ideas to life, students virtually designed their city using SimCity software and wrote an essay that articulated the rationale for their design. Students competed on a regional level before advancing to the nationals in Washington, District of Columbia, USA earlier this week.
PMIEF congratulates Al-Hadi School of Accelerative Learning in Houston, Texas, USA, the recipient of our 2017 Best Future City Project Plan award! We are also grateful to Marsha Marinich, John Shettel and Michael Spead of the PMI Washington DC Chapter for volunteering as our special award judges to determine the winning team! Our judges selected Al-Hadi School out of 43 teams representing four countries.
A 2013 PMIEF grant to DiscoverE funded the organization to revise its Future City curricula to integrate project management into them. Using our no-cost resources like Project Management Skills for Life, Project Management Toolkit for Teachers and Project Management Toolkit for Youth, DiscoverE revamped its Future City handbook so students are now required to develop a project plan. The revised handbook includes the terminology “define, plan, do and review,” which PMIEF developed to simplify the project management process groups for this age level.
A study of students and teachers who piloted the new curricula before their broad dissemination revealed nearly all students surveyed (89%) found including project management in the handbook very helpful. As they explained, their project plan served as “a blueprint for work” and allowed them to “plan ahead” and to “know what to do.” In addition, they reported increased efficiency and greater confidence in their problem-solving abilities. Similarly, all teachers surveyed during the pilot found value in integrating project management into the Future City curricula because doing so encouraged students’ more thoughtful approach to their work.
Both the results of the grant and this year’s stiff competition for the Best Future City Project Plan award make clear that integrating project management into the curricula strengthens teaching and learning. This inspires our commitment to making a meaningful difference in people’s lives by leveraging project management for social good!