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Minnesota's Future is in Good Hands!

Published July 9, 2014

Minnesota students performed exceptionally well during the recent International Conference of the Future Problem Solving Program. The conference hosted over 2,500 students representing 42 states and fifteen countries!

Wayzata High School's Global Issues Problem Solving Team Receive Grand Championship Award

Wayzata High School's Senior Division GIPS Team Earns International Championship! Pictured L to R: Lydia Boike, Isaac Foote, and Trisha Morrison. Coach: Jonathan Honza

Evaluators and coaches describe the Future Problem Solving Program (FPSP) as teaching students how to think, not what to think through a six-step process. Students research topics and brainstorm possible challenges, determine the underlying problem, examine potential solutions to the underlying problem, continue to explore and develop ideas, then apply criteria leading to the development of a plan of action.

FPSP teaches creative and critical thinking skills by providing opportunities to apply process tools and method to real world problems, for example: Climate change/climate threat, freedom of speech, access to healthcare, debt in developing countries, and more.

Competitive components of the program include: Team Global Issues Problem Solving (GIPS), Individual GIPS Problem Solving, Scenario Writing, and Community Problem Solving.

Lino Lakes Elementary STEM School Junior Division CmPS Team "D.A.R.T" Takes Third Place

Forest Lake's Lino Lakes Elementary STEM School Junior Division CmPS Team "D.A.R.T" Takes Third Place! Pictured L to R: Jordan Buelow, June Darling, Ben Desrosier, Caleb Friesen, Katie Hall, Maggie LaBuhn, Grace Land, Grace Muellner, Nader Mustafa, Sydney Thibault, Tommy Thibault, Jennifer Wood. Coach: Lisa Sauer

St. Cloud's North Junior High Middle Division CmPS Team "The E.A.G.L.E. Squad" Takes Second Place! Pictured L to R: Filiyaro, Chelsie Hennen, Leah Stiegel, Gabby Hermanson Coaches: Karlyn Doyle and Carol Winkelman and FPS Scenario Writer: Deanna Winkelman

Roseville High School Team Takes 4th Place in GIPS Senior Division

Roseville High School Takes 4th Place in GIPS Senior Division! Pictured L to R: Jeremy Baxter, Gabe Cederberg, Heather Knutson, Sam O'Donnell-Hoff. Coach: Jonathan Friedman

Global Issues Team Problem Solving

Under the guidance of a teacher/coaches, teams of four students in grades 4-12 use the program's six-step model to explore challenges and propose action plans to complex societal problems, such as fads, financial security, amateur sports, the Internet and genetic engineering.

Teams are divided into three divisions:

Grades 4 - 6 (Junior)

Grades 7 - 9 (Middle)

Grades 10 - 12 (Senior)

Teams and/or individuals complete two practice problems and one qualifying problem throughout the school year. Trained evaluators score student work and return it with feedback including suggestions for improvement. The top scoring teams on the qualifying problem are invited to Affiliate Bowls held each spring. The winners of each respective Affiliate Bowl advance to the International Conference in June.

Students may also participate in the Community Problem Solving (CmPS) component where apply their FPS skills to real problems in their community. A community problem is a problem that exists within the school, local community, region, state or nation. Implementation of the action plan is included in this component. Teams move from hypothetical issues to real world, authentic concerns. The top Community Problem Solving Team projects are invited to the FPSP International Conference in June.

Scenario Writing is yet another program component where students compose futuristic short stories (1,500 words or less) related to one of the current year's topics. The first place winner in each affiliate program is invited to the FPSP International Conference.

Action Based Problem Solving (AbPS) is a non-competitive component for grades K-12. AbPS is offered in the classroom as curriculum or may be imbedded into an existing curriculum. Curriculum materials are available through the International Program.

How to Participate

Teams must have a school-approved coach. Coaches may be teachers, retired teachers, parents, or volunteers from the community. Coaches receive training by attending an FPSP sponsored workshop. Another way to participate is to become a state certified evaluator. Training is provided at no charge. If you are interested in the Future Problem Solving Program, contact Cheryl for more information.