K-12 Student Development

Advancing Students' Knowledge

The David Packard Center is devoted to helping New York City public school students engage with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through a variety of unique and exciting programs, including science competitions and expositions.

We have partnership arrangements with many organizations, which have created programs that engage middle and high school students in science research and hands-on activities. Below is a snapshot of some of our most successful programs.


The Central Brooklyn Robotics Initiative empowers New York City students to engage their imagination and creativity by exploring the science of robotics. This program sends the School of Engineering students to several middle schools and high schools to challenge young people to design, build, and operate robotic devices, and to teach the science of mechatronics. Students are exposed to modern technological applications and engage in exciting hands-on learning activities.

Future City Competition

Seventh and eighth grade students spend five months preparing for this annual event, in which they compete for scholarships and prizes. During the preparation period, they use computer simulations, research environmental and land-use issues, write an essay, and plot out their vision of the "city of the future” to create a three-dimensional scale model. At the actual event at the School of Engineering, which serves as the New York City regional competition to qualify one team to compete in the national finals in Washington, DC, students present their models to a panel of engineering practitioners and professors.

The 2010 National Engineers Week Future City Competition focuses on providing an affordable living space for people who have lost their homes due to a disaster or financial emergency. The students must consider the social, economic and ecological impact of the manufacturing and construction techniques they design, and the models they construct must be recyclable.

In partnership with the American Society of Civil Engineers, Metropolitan Section, NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering has served as host for the New York Regional Finals since 1996. Conducted in partnership with: the American Society of Civil Engineers, Metropolitan Chapter (ASCE)

New York City FIRST Lego League

School of Engineering helps to offer the FIRST Lego League Competition, in which middle school students work in teams to create robots that can perform specific tasks outlined according to the year's game. The School of Engineering students and staff serve as judges and referees, together with volunteers from various corporations and professional organizations. Conducted in partnership with: US FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology)

New York City FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC)
The School of Engineering is an Affiliate Partner with US FIRST in conducting the FIRST Tech Challenge, a mid-level robotics competition for high-school students. It offers the traditional challenge of a FIRST Robotics Competition but with a more accessible and affordable robotics kit. The ultimate goal of FTC is to reach more young people with a lower-cost, more accessible opportunity to discover the excitement and rewards of science, technology, and engineering.

New York City FIRST Robotics Competition

Prior to this two-day event, high school students from New York City and elsewhere spend several months developing robots, which perform tasks in an arena-type setting. The pit area is a particularly exciting place that demonstrates the students’ use of applied science as they fine-tune their robots for the next round of competition. In partnership with: US FIRST