Ellis School wins Future City



The first-place team from The Ellis School pose with their city model during the Pittsburgh Regional Future City Competition on Jan. 18.

Twenty-two schools participated in the 21st Annual DiscoverE Pittsburgh Regional Future City Competition at Carnegie Science Center on Jan. 18, 2020. The team from The Ellis School in Shadyside won first place and will go on to compete in the international Future City Competition finals in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 18, 2020, during National Engineers Week.

The Pittsburgh Regional Future City Competition is presented annually by Carnegie Science Center, as a program of the Duquesne Light Co. Center for STEM Education and Career Development.

The Future City Competition empowers students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades to imagine, research, design and build cities of the future. Keeping the engineering design process and project management front and center, students are asked to address an authentic, real-world question: “How can we make the world a better place?”

This year’s theme, “Clean Water: Tap Into Tomorrow,” challenged students to identify an urban water system threat and then find a futuristic solution that ensures a reliable supply of clean drinking water for their imagined city.

Working in a team with an educator and STEM mentor, students present their vision of the future through a virtual city design using SimCity™ software. They research a city-wide issue and write a 1,500-word essay describing their findings and innovative solutions. Teams complete a project plan to help keep their project on track. They also build a tabletop scale model of their city using recycled materials and describe their finding in a short presentation about their city to a panel of STEM professionals.

Fort Couch Middle School in Upper St. Clair took second place, St. Bede School in Point Breeze took third place, Triadelphia Middle School in Wheeling, WV, took fourth place, and Verna Montessori School in Fayette County took fifth place.

Participating schools were:

  • Baden Academy Charter School
  • Bridge Street Middle School
  • Christ The Devine Teacher Catholic Academy
  • Conneaut School District
  • Derry Area Middle School
  • Divine Mercy Academy
  • Fort Couch Middle School
  • Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School
  • Marion Center Jr./Sr. High
  • Pittsburgh Colfax
  • Propel Northside
  • Propel East
  • St. Bede School
  • St. Bernard Regional Catholic School
  • St. Edmund’s Academy
  • The Ellis School
  • Triadelphia Middle School
  • Verna Montessori School
  • Warwood Middle School
  • West Mifflin Area School District
  • Wheeling Middle School
  • Winchester Thurston School

Sponsors for this regional competition include The Buhl Foundation, Engineer’s Society of Western Pennsylvania, Allegheny County Health Department, AECOM, and others.

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.


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Carnegie Science Center welcomes all visitors. We work to assist visitors with disabilities in obtaining reasonable and appropriate accommodations, and in supporting equal access to services, programs, and activities. We welcome visitors in wheelchairs on the deck of our USS Requin (SS 481) submarine. Below-deck visits require full mobility. Hearing assistance devices are available for The Rangos Giant Cinema. Please ask when you buy your ticket.


Please note that requests for accommodations should be made at least two weeks prior to your visit. For specific questions about wheelchairs, strollers, or other programmatic or equipment needs, see the ticket counter located on the first floor of the main building or contact the Operations Department at 412.237.1641 or info@carnegiesciencecenter.org.


About Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

Established in 1895 by Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is a collection of four distinctive museums: Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum. In 2017, the museums reached more than 1.4 million people through exhibitions, educational programs, outreach activities, and special events.