1. Manuals
  2. Competition Forms
  3. Letter to Parents
  4. Orientation Workshop Materials
  5. Mentor Information
  6. SimCity Resources
  7. Lessons Learned
  8. List of Penalties
  9. Where to Learn More
    about Essay Research, City Planning, Model Building, Engineering and more.



Competition Forms

Electronic copies of FC forms (2019):

  1. Expense Form (pdf)
  2. Honor Statement (pdf)
  3. Media Waiver Form (pdf) [optional]
  4. Home School Affidavit (doc) / (pdf)

Letter to Parents

Letter for teachers to print and send to parents of student competitors explaining the FC program and timeline (Aug-2019).

Orientation Workshops

NTX Regional Webinars

All sessions recorded on our FCC NTX YouTube Channel

National Webinars and Video Tutorials

  • Essay: Clean Water: Tap into Tomorrow video
  • Model Tutorial video
  • Model Moving Parts video
  • City Presentation Tutorial video
  • 2019 New Educator Webinar video
  • 2019 Educator Best Practices and Advice video

Mentor Information

How to Find a Mentor for Your Team

We recommend that schools and teams find their own mentors. Suggestions on where you might look to find a volunteer. If you are not successful, contact the Regional Coordinator for help.

If they are agreeable, mentors may work with more than one team.

Alternatively, 2-3 volunteers may team-up together to mentor the student team(s) (in other words, a "mentor" doesn't have to be one person, although one mentor must be named as the official team member).

Resources for Mentors

Hints and suggestions from some of our most experienced mentors.

SimCity Information and Resources

Obtaining Software

(Aug-2018) Educators: Once your group is registered, you need to complete the online survey (second half of the registration process), you may request 2 SimCity download redemption codes. You can obtain them through the Team Center online system (menu item). This SimCity download requires that you be able to access (and create an account on) EA's Origin platform. For help in downloading, consult the basic download instructions.

Additional copies of SimCity: (Aug-2018) You may be able to obtain additional copies of SimCity from the FC National Program Manager.


  • You can purchase SimCity through Amazon or similar sources. Look for SimCity Complete Edition. SimCity Limited Edition is also acceptable. SimCity 4 is not acceptable.
  • Contact the Regional Coordinator for suggestions on how to maximize SimCity across multiple computers.

Manuals and tutorials:

SimCity Special Instructions

Use the "Single Player" (i.e., offline) mode. Log in to Origin and select "Go Offline." Start the SimCity game in the Single Player mode.


In offline mode, SimCity will store the city files on the local hard drive. So, players must use the same computer every time (or they won't be able to continue with the game/city they have developed).

Be sure to turn off Random Disasters - Options Menu (three dots in upper right corner), Settings Tab.

Sandbox Mode Not Allowed. Be sure NOT to select "Sandbox" mode when initially starting your game (when you select your region and city site).

Multiple teams using the same computer: Multiple teams can use the same computer and Origin ID. Each team should start its own game/region and develop a city site. Each must give their game/region a unique name and only play their own game/region.See SimCity install instructions for more information and for ideas on maximizing SimCity download codes across multiple computers.

Saving and Backing up your Work: use the "Save As" function under the Options menu (three dots in the upper right) to create a back up of your game/region. You can also turn off the Auto Save function under the Options menu - this could be useful if you want to test out various ideas and recover back to where you started.

Transferring SimCity files to another computer. Step-by-step instructions for locating your SimCity city file and moving it to a second computer.

Lessons Learned

  1. This project takes time, so plan accordingly.
    • Educators: 30-40 hours
    • Mentors: 20-40 hours
    • Students:
      • Design city: 18-20 hours
      • Build model: 40-60 hours
      • Essay: 8 hours
      • Presentation: 7 hours
  2. Don't wait to start working on the essay and model! Begin working on the model and the essay before you turn in the Virtual City design. And, get as much done before the Christmas break as you can.
  3. Keep parents informed. Make sure parents of the student competitors know about the competition requirements and schedule. Send the letter to parents or your own form home with the students.
  4. You need to be successful on all phases of the project to win. While the SimCity is the most fun, it counts for less than a quarter of the total score.
    • Virtual City Design - 20%
    • Model - 27%
    • Essay - 22%
    • Presentation - 27%
    • Project Plan - 4%
  5. Penalty points for late work won't kill your chances. If you need a couple more days to complete your virtual city design or essay, you might want to consider turning your work in late and accepting the penalty points. See below.
  6. When you start SimCity, build slowly and wisely. Your new SimCity city is a balancing act between income and expenses for building infrastructure. Don't build more than you can afford. Check out the SimCity orientation for tips and suggestions.
  7. If you are working on the project as a class, you must select the three students who will represent you at the competition (for the presentation). Consider holding tryouts and/or letting the students vote on who to select.
  8. Educators and mentors act as advisors. The students are the designers (no matter how wrong their decisions appear to be).
  9. Consider bringing in topic area experts (for example: materials specialists or urban designers) to give a brief presentation.
  10. Models can be fragile and easily damaged during transit or setup. Have a small repair kit ready (glue, tape, screwdriver, staplers, etc.) in case emergency repairs are necessary.
  11. Read the Handbook and Rules for North Texas Competition.

List of Penalties

  • Late or missing work. See Schedule for specific dates.
    • Virtual City, City Essay, and Project Plan deliverables after due date - Minus 5 points
    • Note: Missing work does not disqualify a team.
  • Incomplete or missing Honor Statement - Minus 2 points
  • Exceeding the maximum word limit on the City Essay - Minus 10 points
  • Over budget or undocumented expenses - Model and presentation costs exceeding $100 or missing Expense Form - Minus 15 points
    • Incomplete expense form - missing receipts, not accounting for all major items, missing teacher or mentor signature - Minus 5 points
  • Model ID - Missing all or part of Model ID - Minus 1-5 points
  • Model size - Exceeding the max dimensions for the model in any direction, at any time during the presentation - Minus 15 points
  • Presentation size - Exceeding the max dimensions for presentation and demonstration materials - Minus 15 points
  • Presentation time - Exceeding the max presentation time - Minus 5 points
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct by team members or guests (includes rude behavior to judges, competitors, or disruption of another team's judging session) - Minus 20 points
  • Plagiarism of any part or all of the City Essay - 0 points earned for the deliverable
  • Destruction of another team's model or presentation materials - Disqualification

Where to Learn More

  • Presentations
  • Engineering