The purpose of Future Problem Solving (FPS) is to teach students how to think, not what to think. This is accomplished by teaching critical and creative thinking skills, and problem solving and decision-making skills via a six-step process. Developing these skills help students to improve their academic and social achievement. Up to four members are on an FPS team in the Global Issues Problem Solving (GIPS) component of the FPS Program (www.mnfpsp.org and www.fpspi.org).
Benefits of the FPS program are endless, due to the fact that the program curriculum
▪ Encourages students to improve their critical, creative, and analytical thinking skills
▪ Stimulates students’ knowledge and interest in the future
▪ Extends written and verbal communication
▪ Develops and improves research proficiency
▪ Provides opportunities to apply process tools and method to real world problems
▪ Guides students to become more self-directed and responsible
▪ Develops teamwork skills and
▪ Promotes decision-making techniques to reach agreement with team members.
After learning the six-step problem solving process used in FPS, students are able to participate in other components such as Scenario Writing and Community Problem Solving (CmPS). Through Scenario Writing, participants apply the FPS process to a 1,500 word futuristic story of their creation about a topic for the competition year. CmPS encourages students to become agents of change in their communities. Students will explore challenges in the community, determine the underlying problem, brainstorm possible solutions, develop criteria to determine the best solution, develop an action plan, and carry the action plan out. These civic projects allow students to become a part of the solution in their communities.
Students decide on an issue affecting their school, local or global community, research the area of concern, determine the underlying problem, generate solution ideas, develop a plan of action, and put that plan into action. The plan needs to be sustainable, transferrable to other settings, and involve many parts of their community. To prepare for competition, CmPS teams or individuals prepare a written report, visual addendum, scrapbook, display and media presentation to share with visitors and the judges. CmPS teams and individuals compete at the State level and are eligible to compete at the International FPS Conference each year. This year, the International FPS Competition is in La Crosse, Wisconsin at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
CmPS teams and individuals in St. Cloud have addressed many topics in their short program history - awareness of bully behavior, welcoming new students, staff, and families, improving intersection safety, increasing positive interpersonal communication, CmPS program awareness, reducing distracted driving, alleviating cultural tension, involving students with disabilities in after school activities, transition from elementary to middle school, and preventing injuries in high school sports. This year, their project topics include shining a light on teenage anxiety, encouraging people to get off devices and go outdoors, responding to violent crime, improving the health of the Mississippi River, supporting high school students in poverty, and bringing positivity and happiness back to our community.