There is an old story about a southern rural preacher who was very successful in public speaking. A reporter asked him for the secret to his success. He said, "I tell them what I'm going to tell them. Then I tell them. Then I tell them what I told them." If that form sounds familiar it is very similar to the format that you used in your essay and city narrative; introduction, body, and conclusion. We will discuss how to use that format to make an excellent team presentation. Remember to use the rubric to guide you.

Click here for presentation rubric


It is a good idea to prepare an outline as your first step. You will find that your outline is very similar to your city narrative so you may want to use that outline as a beginning point. However, in your team presentation you will use many more words than 500. This means that you will be able to expand on the points in your city narrative and add other material that would not fit in the narrative. Therefore, your presentation outline should be larger.

From your outline you should prepare a script for your presentation. Your script is the text of the speech that the team is going to present.

Hint: if you have access to a color printer, use a different color font for each speaker (greens, blues, and maroons are good choices) so that each presenter's speaking parts are clearly identified.

Your script should also show the stage directions in parenthesis. For instance, the script text would show the speaker presenting the description of the city's power facilities and in parenthesis show a teammate pointing to the facility in the scale model e.g. (Sammy points to power facility). You can transfer the key points from the script to note cards to practice. However, your goal should be to memorize the script and not use note cards in your final presentation.

In the introduction section of your script you should introduce the team members and their roles. You should also introduce your city and its location. You should also mention the size of the population, its climate, and, perhaps, it's landscape.

In the body of your presentation, you are going to sell your city, not just tell about your city (don't tell it, sell it). Describe the important points of your city and the community. For instance, technological advances, unique facilities, employment opportunities, key industries, your infrastructure, the educational level of the community, how you've met community needs, and the role that engineering plays in your city. Remember to include substantial information on the essay topic. Use your research, city narrative, essay, city plan outline, and community outline to build the body of your presentation.

Organize the information so that it has a logical flow. Make certain that you have smooth transitions between topics. You have limited time, so don't dwell too long on any one topic. However, make sure that your strongest selling points are heard. It is a good idea to let one person from the team discuss an entire topic. It limits the number of microphone handoffs and other distractions.

In the conclusion, you should summarize the important parts from the body of the presentation. Explain why your city is the best in the world and how it differs from others. List the benefits of living there. The last sentence of the script should make the judges want to grab the next plane to your city.

Remember to keep a copy of your script in the Team Presentation folder in the Project Archive.


Role-playing is always a good idea for a team presentation. Roles should reinforce what you want to sell the judges. For example, if the primary emphasis of your city is energy production, your roles shouldn't be as professional athletes. Some roles that you might use are city council members, city planners, Chamber of Commerce representatives, or a trade delegation.

No matter what roles you choose, make certain that the script fits the roles. Speakers should talk within the context of their role. This means if one of the roles is chief of energy production, that person probably shouldn't be talking about parks and recreation. It is a good idea to do research on the roles that you plan to use so that you know the expectations of the judges.


Your most important prop is your city scale model. You should plan to point out key features to the judges throughout your presentation (regular pointers are allowed, but because you don't know what the stage lighting will be, you should absolutely avoid laser pointers). Remember that the speaker should not be directly involved with props. Multitasking can be a distraction for you and the judges.

You can use flip charts, but the information on the pages must be clearly visible (use dark markers). Also, make certain that your writing does not show through to the next page. You can also use display boards, but they have size limitations. You may have one display board that is 60" W x 36" H or two display boards each measuring 30" W x 36" H. Remember, the speaker should not be turning pages on the flipchart or exchanging display boards on an easel.

Brochures are a fun idea and the competition limit is one 8.5" x 11" page for each copy of the brochure. However, you can fold the page. Microsoft Word has templates for brochures that you can download. Depending on the type of software that you have, you can add photographs and other clipart to your brochure.

A good place to get some guidance on how cities use brochures is to get brochures from the Chamber of Commerce or Visitors Bureau in a city near you. You can also use other types of handouts and small mockups, but they all must fit within a shoebox.


You should dress appropriately for your presentation. That means that your clothes should be neat and clean and so should you. You may choose to use costumes like hardhats, lab coats, or clothing unique to your city (Hawaiian shirts for Honolulu). The costumes should be consistent with the roles that you are playing (don't wear lab coat if you're the head of Parks and Recreation). Don't wear anything that detracts or distracts from your presentation. Over-the-top attire may be fun but it moves the attention of the judge from the presentation to the presenter. Minimize all distractions.


There is an old joke about a stranger who asks a local resident how to get to Symphony Hall. The resident responds, "practice, practice, practice". When it comes to your presentation that should be your constant thought. Rehearse your script including all stage movements. (Don't forget the microphone handoffs).

Hint: an empty paper towel tube makes a good practice microphone.

A good idea is to video your rehearsals. If you don't have a camera there is usually a video camera built into cell phones. You can get the teacher-sponsor, a parent, or a fellow student to take the video. Review the video and make changes to your script to improve your presentation.

Hint: remove any slang or terms like "like", "you know", "Man!", "OMG", etc. from your presentation and your question-and-answer practice. You shouldn't ever say that you have, "Stuff" in your city. Make sure you use a specific name.

Each member of the team should present his or her speaking part to anyone who will listen. That means you can give it to Mom, Dad, grandma, Uncle Fred, your teachers, your BFFs or anyone else who will listen. Ask for their feedback and revise, if appropriate. You can voice record your presentation and listen to it. Adjust your voice strength and tone based upon what you hear. Re-record it and listen until you are satisfied that it is the best that you can do.

Hint: Cell phones and MP3 players usually have voice recorders in them. Those cell phones also have video recorders too. You should take a second to see what you look like on film. You might see things that you were not able to see before.

Anticipate the questions that judges might ask you. Ask your teacher-sponsor for a list of possible questions. Judges questions may include your city design, the essay topic, the technology you use, how you meet the community needs, how you work together as a team, and the Future City Competition Experience. Rehearse your answers as well as the script. Remember to speak calmly and in proper English when you respond to the question. Make sure that everyone on the team has an opportunity to answer questions.

You should rehearse until you're satisfied that your presentation is as good as you can make it. It is unwise to change your presentation less than two days prior to the competition. You will have little, if any, time to rehearse the changes.

Performance Tips

Here are a few tips to remember for the competition:

  • sleep well the night before the competition,
  • eat a good breakfast,
  • remain calm, no one knows your city better than you do,
  • minimize distractions during your presentation,
  • be poised and confident; there are no wrong answers,
  • maintain eye contact with the judges,
  • use smooth and few microphone handoffs,
  • use gestures so that you will know which teammate will answer a judge's question

Well, that does it. We've given you all the help that we can give. We hope that all the Compete webpages have improved the Future City Competition Experience for you. Everyone in the Future City Competition-Arizona Region organization works to give you the opportunity to compete and to succeed.

Click here for a helpful video

Best of luck!

We believe in you and we are proud of you!

Materials and Equipment

  • Start gathering these while the design (city layout) is in progress.
  • Use your imagination.
  • Have a good cutting tool, knife, etc.
  • Look at previous examples to see what worked.
  • Make sure you have your equipment on hand beforeyou start.
  • Make sure all materials are clean and usable.
  • Be creative in your collection of the materials.

Materials and Equipment: Around the House

Cardboard, plastic bottles, cans, markers,material/clothing, thread, glue (Elmer’s/glue sticks),tape, cups, straws, toothpicks, paperclips, staples,nails, screws, scissors, mat knife, sandpaper, cottonballs, pins and colored pins, twigs, sticks, driedweeds and flowers, boxes, medicine bottles (makesure these are cleaned well), unwanted and/orbroken items (such as toys), sandpaper, etc.

Materials and Equipment:From the Store

Styrofoam, construction paper, x-acto knife, wire,mat board, metal straight edge, cardboard, wood,packaging, plastic piping, balsa wood, landscapematerials, model store grass and lichen, boxes, etc. These can be bought, but it is preferable if they canbe donated and/or “scavenged” Some examples of stores and business that aregood sources: Flea markets, garage sales, officesand businesses, tradesmen (plumbers, electricians,etc.), home improvement stores, hobby stores, artstores (such as Michael’s) and contractors.

Moving Part

Suggested ways to do this are through:

  • Rubber bands
  • Heat
  • Light/Solar
  • Weights
  • Springs
  • Pulleys
  • Battery operated/simple circuitry
  • Paper (Folded for pop-up)

Must be able to have the motion repeated. Must be closely related to a function of the city

Construction Methods and Ideas

  • Sometimes the simple approach is the best.
  • The model should highlight the thought process behind the city
  • Maintain quality, be NEAT, it does count!
  • Be flexible and adaptable if something doesn’t workout right or fit correctly. Learn from thisand, if possible, make it work for another item on the model
  • This is a time consuming task, so plan ahead for it. BE PATIENT! It will get done. As the saying goes,”Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
  • Work on a clean, smooth and hard surface
  • Wear protective eyewearwhen cutting, spraypainting, etc.
  • As an old saying goes, "Measure twice, cut once";
  • Itis helpful if you cut out all the pieces of an assembly first,then test fit them together before putting (gluing, taping, etc.) them together.
  • If you don’t have a scale and it isn’t’t in your budget,then you can make a scale using a regular ruler.
  • Make sure you allow for the model identification card
  • Create a solid base for the model by using plywoodor particle board. Be careful to use the thinnest possible to save on weight, but it needs to be stiff enough to carry the model without the base flexing.
  • If there is a need for an underground transportion, you can use wood blocking or another sturdy material such as plastic piping to create the space needed.

Model Enhancements

  • Make sure they are to the scale of the model
  • Trees: These can be made from twigs and sticks with cottonballs (can be painted green), lichenfrom a hobby store,dried flowers or weeds (make trees that are between 20feet and 40 feet in height) or sponges with food coloring.
  • People: These can be made from sticks, tooth picks, matboard, pins, dowels, pipe cleaners, etc. (use 6 ft. for height)
  • Cars: These can be made from layers of mat board orcardboard glued together, toy cars that are the right scale,Styrofoam, etc.
  • Glass: You can use clear plastic dividers, sleeves, sheets,etc., remember to put this on close to last so it doesn’t’t get scratched.
  • Bricks/Pavers: You can use a colored paper or other colored material that matches what you want it to look like and then draw on the pattern or you can take a white paper or material and color it with markers, crayons, etc., remembering to show the pattern.
  • Roads: You can take a black paper or color a white paperblack and then draw on the lane markers with a white and/oryellow colored pencil or crayon and then cut to size.
  • Sidewalks: You can use a gray paper or color a white paper and then cut to size.
  • Grade Changes: You can use Styrofoam that is cut/shaped to what you want, use layers of cardboard or mat board to formcontours or slope the model.
  • Water: You can use blue colored paper or color white paper blue. For added affect, you can put clear plastic or plastic wrap (the kind you use for foods) over it.
  • Building Material Looks: To make something look like the material it is in “real life”, you can draw on jointlines, etc.
  • Sand/beach: You can use sand paper (very fine grit).
  • Grass: Use green colored paper or color white paper green or you can use a “grass material”from a hobbystore. Another idea may be to use a green felt or fabric.

Transporting Your Model

  • Consider how to make your model “weather proof”. This is important in the case that there is rain, windand/or dust around when you are transporting themodel to the various display and competition sites. This can be done by building a plywood case that fits over the model (if done right, this can be screwed/attached to the base in case it needs to be shipped. Another method would be to use a largeplastic bag/container, but make sure that it doesn’t damage any of the model components.
  • Another item to consider is how you are going to carry the model. The easiest method would be to have some wood blocking underneath the model as these then provide hand-holds that make it easier to carry.
  • Make sure that the model isn’t too heavy to be easily carried.

Repair Supplies

You should have materials on hand to be able to repair your model(new elements or construction not allowed) These should include tape, glue, extra model elements, items to keep/repair moving part and for fixing the base and sides.

Click here for a helpful video.

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Virtual City DesignThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Nov 20
City Narrative

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Dec 13
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Please send a separate email message for each Computer City Model due to file size restrictions.


Future City - Rules & Rubric

Building the scale model is probably the most fun that you will have in the competition. If you made a good city outline and a good city layout, it will make this job a lot easier. Also, if you used the scale conversion worksheet, you probably have all the right sized pieces to construct your model. Remember to review the rubric before you begin, click here.

We've assembled some useful hints to help you construct your city. We can't guarantee that if you use these instructions that you will win an award, but it should make getting the job done much easier. Note: do not forget your moving part.

Let's get started.

Model Criteria

  • Quality workmanship
  • Recognizable as a city
  • Has “futuristic”aspects
  • Use of color, graphics, shapes, etc.
  • Realistic
  • Pleasing to the eye
  • Durable
  • Consistent horizontal and vertical scale, has a 3-dimensional aspect
  • Vertically oriented models are not accepted
  • Moving Part: innovation, quality and relationship to function
  • Use of recycled materials, variety of materials and their creative use and modification

Model Parameters

  • Built to a scale
  • Size requirements:25” wide x 50” long x 20” high
  • $100.00 (One Hundred Dollar Limit)
  • This includes the value of the materials used insupport of the presentation, donated materials, items that are “brought in”, such as a full box of staples asopposed to just a few of them, handouts and ”uniforms/costumes”.
  • Contains a moving part
  • Model Identification card
  • Must be able to be transported and repaired, if needed

Judging Categories

City Design 20 Points
Quality and Scale 15 Points
Materials and Moving Part(s) 15 Points
Judge Assessment of Model 20 Points

Getting Started

  • Pick an area of the city that best showcases the competition criteria and your concept(s) for the city. (city layout)
  • Choose a scale that best combines the area chosen, the concept and the model size requirements (scale conversion worksheet)
  • PLAN EVERYTHING, know what you want the end product to be.
  • Pick materials that match the scale and the items they are going to be.
  • Create and/or find a well ventilated and well lit workspace that is big enough for the model and the construction of it.

Continue to next page

The City Narrative will follow the same format as the research essay. However, the maximum size is less than half the size of the essay, 500 words. The City Narrative has an entirely different objective from the essay. Use the city plan and community outlines, if you prepared them. This is where you will sell your city in printed form. Your goal is to encourage your reader to live or locate a business in your city. Every word is valuable, so be wise with the each one.

Your introduction gives the reader your city's vital statistics. Where is it located? How large is it? What is the climate? How many people live there? What are the important features of the landscape (mountains, beaches, harbors, etc.)? Your last sentence should compel the reader to continue, so give it plenty of thought.

The body of the City Narrative is much shorter than the essay. You will probably only have enough room for 4 or 5 key points. Identify all the features that make your city different from any other. Make certain that you put the most important features first. Do you use a clean energy source? Do you have a strong infrastructure? Are your people well-educated and productive? Do you have incentives to bring businesses to your city? Do you have a superior transportation system? Use your imagination.

Your conclusion will probably only be one or two sentences, so makethem strong. Your conclusion is the thought that you want your reader to remember. For instance, if your city is famous for solar energy your last sentence might be "The energy in Solaris Prime comes from the sun AND our people. Come take your place in the sun.”

Use your City Narrative to help you build your team presentation.

Click here to see the rubric used to judge the Narratives.

Click here to see past winning City Narratives at the national level.