Future Problem Solving Program International

Future Problem Solving Program International (FPSPI) is a non-profit educational program that organizes academic competitions in which students apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills to hypothetical future situations. The program looks at current technological, geopolitical, and societal trends and projects those trends 20–30 years into the future in order to train students to develop solutions to the challenges they may face as adults. FPSPI was founded by creativity researcher Ellis Paul Torrance in 1974.[1] Today, thousands of students from over 20 countries participate in the program each year.[2] Most FPSPI components are open to students who are in the equivalent of the U.S. grade level range of 4 through 12.

Future Problem Solving Program International
An abstract figure of a human head overlaid with a zipper which opens to reveal a globe.
AbbreviationFPSPI
Established1974
FounderEllis Paul Torrance
TypeEducational program
Legal status501(c)(3)
HeadquartersMelbourne, Florida
Websitefpspi.org

PedagogyEdit

FPSPI was originally founded to train students to use a specific six-step problem-solving process:

  1. Identify challenges that exist in a given situation.
  2. Pick a high-impact "Underlying Problem" to focus on, formulated as an attainable goal that addresses the problem.
  3. Brainstorm solutions to the Underlying Problem.
  4. Develop criteria that measure solutions' positive impact on people affected by the Underlying Problem.
  5. Evaluate and rank the solutions using the criteria.
  6. Develop an elaborated Action Plan based on the highest-ranking solution.

The original Future Problem Solving competition – now known as Global Issues Problem Solving (GIPS) – evaluates students' competency in using this problem-solving process in the context of a fictional future situation. Students in the GIPS competition are grouped into grade level ranges and may compete as individuals or as teams of four. Prior to each competition event, FPSPI announces the competition topic (such as "Artificial Intelligence" or "Oceans") and provides a list of suggested readings. Students spend 1–2 months researching the topic with an eye to potential future challenges and solutions. At the beginning of the competition, students are given a Future Scene (FS), a one- to two-page document that describes the hypothetical future situation having to do with the pre-announced topic. Competitors then proceed according to the six-step process. Students are graded on their correct application of the process and on their use of cited research and creative originality. In the affiliate bowl and the IC, after completing the six-step process in two hours, students then immediately begin work on a second competition called "Presentation of Action Plan" in which they illustrate their final solution by preparing and performing a skit.

FPSPI later developed additional programs that make use of the six-step problem-solving process, or that otherwise train students in creative critical thinking. In the Community Problem Solving (CmPS) competition, students are evaluated on how well they apply the process to present-day problems in their own community. The Action-based Problem Solving (AbPS) program adapts the process for classroom use. In the Scenario Writing competition, students write a short story, set at least 20 years in the future, based on one of the GIPS competition topics. The Scenario Performance component is similar but is geared toward students who prefer telling stories through oral communication.

StructureEdit

FPSPI consists of state and nationwide organizations called affiliates. Each affiliate is responsible for conducting the competitions which take place in its own geographic area. Students begin preparing for competition at the start of each school year. Depending on the affiliate and the type of competition, there may be regional, state, or national levels of competition that take place during the year. Only the winners of any given competition qualify to proceed to the next level. The highest level of competition takes place at the annual International Conference (IC), which is held in May or June, at the end of the United States school year. The IC is held at the campus of a public university in the United States (the country with the largest number of competitors), with a new location being chosen every two years.

Topic HistoryEdit

Each year, FPSPI releases a list of five study topics, one for each of the five GIPS competitions that occur each academic year.

List of past FPSPI topics[3]
Academic Year Practice Problem 1 Practice Problem 2 Qualifying Problem Affiliate Bowl International Conference
2020-2021 Youth In Competitive Sports Wearable Technology Human Environmental Impact Personalized Medicine [To be determined; announcement March 1st 2021]
2019-2020 International Travel Sleep Patterns Gamification Living in Poverty Terraforming
2018-2019 Mission to Moon, Mars, and Beyond Drones Food Loss & Waste Coping with Stress De-Extinction
2017-2018 Spread of Infectious Disease Toxic Materials Philanthrocapitalism Cloud Storage Criminal Justice Systems
2016-2017 Educational Disparities It's All in the Genes 3D Printing Identity Theft Biosecurity
2015-2016 Treatment of Animals Disappearing Languages Recovering from Natural Disasters The Global Workplace Energy of the Future
2014-2015 The Impact of Social Media Processed Foods Propaganda Enhancing Human Potential Intellectual Property
2013-2014 Social Isolation Desertification Surveillance Society Land Transportation Space
2012-2013 Culture of Celebrity Robotic Age Megacities Ocean Soup Global Status of Women
2011-2012 All in a Day's Work Coral Reefs Human Rights Trade Barriers Pharmaceuticals
2010–2011 Healthy Living Air Transport Genetic Testing Water Quality Emergency Planning
2009–2010 Sensory Overload Invasive Species Orphaned Children Food Distribution Green Living
2008–2009 Olympic Games Cyber Conflict Space Junk Counterfeit Economy Pandemic
2007–2008 Body Enhancement Simulation Technology Neurotechnology Debt in Developing Countries Child Labor
2006–2007 Fundraising and Charity Giving Protection of National Treasures Cultural Prejudice Caring for Our Elders Privacy
2005–2006 Climate Change/Threat Freedom of Speech Nutrition Health Care Access Redistribution of Wealth
2004–2005 Entertainment Terrorism/Security Agriculture of the 21st Century Depletion of Oceanic Species Business Crime
2003–2004 Smart Clothes Rage/Bullying Artificial Intelligence Media Impact Immigration
2002–2003 Sports Medicine E-Commerce Nanotechnology DNA Identification Worldwide Communications
2001–2002 Alternative Energy Educational Options Organ Donation Environmental Law Virtual Corporations
2000–2001 Tourism World Population Water Habitat International Relations
1999–2000 Fads Financial Security Amateur Sports The Internet Genetic Engineering
1998–1999 Undersea Living Computer Error Life Long Learning Prison Alternatives Distribution of Wealth
1997–1998 Natural Disasters Freedom Women in the Workplace Non-Traditional Families Medical Ethics
1996–1997 Homes of the Future Extraterrestrial Life Cashless Society Competition Increasing Life Span

Notable AlumniEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "What is FPSPI?". Retrieved 2019-02-23.
  2. ^ "Find an Affiliate". Retrieved 2020-05-02.
  3. ^ "FPSPI Topic History" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-02-23. Retrieved 2019-02-23.
  4. ^ "GeekGirl Meets Hidden Figures Screenwriter, Allison Schroeder". Archived from the original on 2017-12-29. Retrieved 2019-02-23. I’ve been writing since a young age. I used to compete in Future Problem Solving Scenario Writing, a competition where you project a world problem into the future as a science fiction short story. I won first place internationally for my scenario on toxic waste in seventh grade [in 1993], so that was probably the beginning [of what led me to become a screenwriter].

External linksEdit