We need dozens and dozens of judges to score team deliverables for the Future City Competition. As a judge, you will draw on your expertise and resources to fairly assess the team’s efforts.

Middle-school student teams begin in September with their Future City designs and finish in January with the presentation of those designs. The deliverables include: Virtual City Design (using SimCity) in November, Technical Essay on an assigned engineering topic in December, 3D Scale Model in January, and Oral Presentation in January.

In addition, we have an elementary school introductory program for 4-5th graders. These teams will be delivering a Technical Essay in December and a 3D Scale Model in January.

Some of the judging tasks provide the opportunity to interact with the student teams. Some of the tasks can be accomplished online, on your own schedule. Sign up for one or more than one - you determine your level of commitment.

Judging Opportunities

Computer City Design

Evaluating design of virtual cities (deliverable is now a slide show).

  • Need about 25 volunteers.
  • Judging online, on your schedule, at your computer.
  • Approximate commitment: 12 hours, December-January.
City Essay

Scoring student research papers (max 1500 words). Research topics - solving a critical engineering problem - are assigned annually.

  • Need about 25 volunteers (Future City Competition) and 8 volunteers (FC Junior).
  • Judging online, on your schedule, at your computer.
  • Approximate commitment: 5 hours, early January.
Model and Presentation

Rating overall city design with student oral presentations and physical models.

  • Need about 40 volunteers (Future City Competition) and 10 volunteers (FC Junior - models only).
  • On-site, at UT Arlington.
  • Interacting with student teams, Q&A.
  • Approximate commitment: 8 hours (FCC - morning) and 3 hours (FC Jr - afternoon), January.
Special Awards

Judging for specific, sponsored category awards (e.g., Transportation system design, Sustainability, Urban design, Civil infrastructure).

  • Need about 25 volunteers. Generally representatives from award-sponsoring organizations.
  • On-site, at UT Arlington.
  • Interacting with student teams, Q&A.
  • Approximate commitment: 8-12 hours, January.

About Judging

While Future City is primarily an educational program for middle school students, it is also a - as the title says - a "competition." And, our goal is to make it as fair and unbiased as possible.

First, each deliverable is scored by at least three judges and those scores averaged for a single component score. A composite score for each team is calculated by adding the component scores for each deliverable.

Next, we have detailed rubrics for each deliverable to assist the judges in scoring. The rubrics have been developed to help ensure consistent scoring from judge to judge and from region to region. However, we recognize that the criteria cannot cover all possible situations. Judges need to examine the specific elements of each entry and determine a score that is consistent with the rubric and accurately reflects the quality of the team’s effort.

Also, we provide instructions and training materials for many of the judging tasks.

  • The Judge's Handbook provides background information, as well as copies of score sheets and rubrics for all competition components.
  • Score sheets, rubrics, and judging instructions for the Virtual City Design, the Research Essay are accessible from the online judging center.
  • For on-site judging (Model, Presentation and Special Awards), we will hold an orientation session and provide you with rubrics, score sheets, sample questions, etc.
  • Model, Presentation and Special Award judges also have access to the online judging center prior to the event to review Essays and Narratives and become familiar with the entries.

Finally, the top 4-6 teams will advance to the finals where they will compete head-to-head in front of a single panel of judges.

Please keep in mind, as you evaluate the teams' entries

  • These young students (4-5th and 6th-8th grades) have been working long and hard on their designs.
  • Each judge-volunteer is part of a judging panel. Scores will be averaged.
  • Scores for each deliverable make up only a portion of the total score.
  • All judges may go online after the competition to see final scores for the teams.


"It amazes me what 7th and 8th graders can do. As an engineer, I'm really optimistic about the future." - Lockheed Martin Aeronautics engineer-volunteer