Plum's Oblock school model city gets several awards at city contest
By Matthew Defusco
Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was Elliotsburgh, a model city built by students at Oblock Junior High School in Plum.
Fifteen students began to design an entire city back in October as part of the Pittsburgh Regional Future City Competition sponsored by the Carnegie Science Center and Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania.
Different criteria were required in making the city, including the use of recycled materials and a spending limit of $100.
The most important rule was to provide a solution to deal with storm-water runoff.
The students also had to write a narrative essay to explain the way their city functioned as well as design a digital city using the game Sim City.
The students brought to life a section of the virtual city in a physical model complete with an underground water-treatment system, flowing river, and Mount Beatty, a notable portion of the model named for the student's technology education teacher and project advisor, Philip Beatty.
Beatty said he was glad to see the students learn different aspects of engineering that they otherwise never would have explored.
“It was nice to see them work cohesively,” he said, adding that the competition developed “a lot of compromising skills and problem solving” skills as different ideas given by the students needed to be organized and agreed on by the whole group.
Beatty said the students “took the bull by the horns” for this project. Toward the end of the endeavor, the students were staying after school from 3 to about 5 p.m. four days a week to finish the model, Beatty said.
The city was presented alongside 25 other model cities from around Western Pennsylvania. Oblock's model won several awards including best city layout, best bridge, and the student's choice for best city.
The students who presented the model, Sofia Chapkis, Jonathan Hiener, and Graham Merlin, said their favorite part of the project was putting together the model.
“It's just more physical, it's more hands-on,” Merlin, 13, said. “It's a different part of the engineering aspect.”
“I also enjoyed doing some of the research to learn about how rain-water runoff affects our city,” said Hiener, 12.
“We found out how to conserve water and protect the rain-water runoff from getting polluted and then clean the bit that is still polluted.”
The project included an intricate water-refinery plant that theoretically would separate clean water from polluted water and redirect the runoff to the appropriate part of the city.
The city utilized aspects of all kinds of engineering including civil, mechanical, and electrical.
“I wasn't really interested in engineering before but this got me a lot more interested in it,” Chapkis, 12, said.
The complexity of the city and its practical applications are something that Beatty hopes will transfer as an interest for the students as they possibly pursue opportunities in the future.
“I'd love to hear that a couple of these students did pursue an interest in engineering or architecture or something along those lines,” Beatty said.
Matthew DeFusco is an intern for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Elementary school program in Plum shows fun and math can be in same equation
- Plum EMS center bids to be submitted
- School attack next door hits Plum residents hard
- Ex-Plum officer’s hearing set for April 23
- Hockey game scheduled in May to benefit Plum EMS
- Winter weather causes overtime, salt supply to add up in Plum