B-P team receives award

PERTH – A group of four Broadalbin-Perth Middle School students took home the award for Best Green Design Model at Saturday’s regional Future City Competition at Proctors in Schenectady.

The Future City Competition is a national, project-based learning experience in which students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades imagine, design and build models of cities of the future. As part of the program, students work as a team with an advising teacher to plan cities using SimCity software, research and write solutions to an engineering problem, build tabletop scale models with recycled materials and present their ideas to judges at regional competitions in January. Regional winners represent their regions at the national finals in Washington, D.C., in February.

This is the first year B-P has put forth a team. The idea was something science teacher Anita Stabrowski brought to the district from a conference she attended, a news release said.

Stabrowski said in the release that the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority provided tremendous support and guidance as she learned the ropes of serving as the team’s adviser.

Because preparation for the competition required a significant time commitment, Stabrowski’s initially large group dwindled to four students who logged hundreds of hours of work, the release said. Paul Bush, an eighth-grader, and Ben Nellis, Madison Fariello and Eliana Fraser, all seventh-graders, worked after school nearly every day since October on the five components of the project – the virtual city, the research essay, the city model, the city narrative and the presentation.

“It sounded like a good challenge, and I like challenges,” Nellis said in the release. He said he enjoys writing, a major part of what the group had to do in the early part of the project.

This year’s Future City topic was “Feeding Future Cities,” and groups were required to select one vegetable and one protein and design a way to grow enough of each within the city limits to feed the city’s residents. The students decided to use aquaponics, a food-production system that combines raising aquatic animals with hydroponics, in a tree-like structure that serves as a self-supporting ecosystem, the release said.

“Our team had different talents, so we divided up the tasks,” Stabrowski said in the release.

According to the release, Bush served as the “tech guy,” focusing on the creation of the virtual city. Fariello conducted much of the research surrounding the location of their city. They settled on a place they call Long Lake City in southern Illinois.

The four students joined other schools in the Albany region Saturday to make their presentation.