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Transit theme for STEM competition

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New Mexico middle school students will display their talents of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the Annual Future City Competition Regional Finals on Jan. 25 at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque.
This year’s theme for Future City Competition is “Tomorrow’s Transit: Design a Way to Move People in and Around Your City.”
Approximately 25 teams, comprised of sixth, seventh and eighth grade students from all over New Mexico, have been tasked with creating transportation solutions that are quick, safe, reliable and sustainable; whether by air, foot, car, bike, or public transit.
 Led by an educator and engineer mentor, students learn the basics of city planning and management as they design a virtual city using SimCity software. Via the research essay, the students delve deeper into a citywide issue.
This year’s question asks them to review the transportation options and needs of their own city, create viable ideas that consider safety, accessibility, intermodality and sustainability in an effort to re-imagine a better and more efficient city. From there, each team builds a physical model of their city using recycled materials costing no more than $100.
More than 40,000 middle school student from 1,350 schools in 37 regions nationally will be competing in their local regional finals this January. First-place winners from each qualifying regional competition receive a trip to the Future City Competition National Finals in Washington, D.C., Feb. 15-18 during Engineers Week. 
The national grand prize is $7,500 for the team’s school or after-school’s STEM program and a trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala.