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Future Problem Solving (FPS) is a research based academic program teaching problem solving strategies, collaboration, critical/creative thinking and effective communication skills across curriculum.

FPS Curriculum/Program Components

The breadth of FPS research materials and curriculum provide opportunities for students to develop and hone the skills necessary to meet and exceed standards through analysis of research, investigation, and application of student-generated solutions.


Several curricular, as well as co-curricular opportunities, are available including:


  • Global Issues Problem Solving (GIPS). Click here for more info.

  • Community Problem Solving (CmPS). Click here for more info.

  • Scenario Writing. Click here for more info.

  • Scenario Performance. Click here for more info.

  • Action Based Problem Solving (AbPS) - noncompetitive classroom-based component. Click here for more info.  


Six-Step Problem Solving Process

The basis of Future Problem Solving (FPS) is the six-step problem solving process.

  1. Identify Challenges - Generate challenges or issues related to global research, Future Scenes, or a specific need area.

  2. Select an Underlying Problem - Identify the key issue to be resolved.

  3. Produce Solution Ideas - Brainstorm solutions to solve the underlying problem.

  4. Generate & Select Criteria  - Develop criteria to evaluate the merit of the best solution ideas.

  5. Apply Criteria - Evaluate each potential solution using your selected criteria and assign a ranking order.  

  6. Develop an Action Plan - based on the highest scoring idea, develop an Action Plan explaining how the solution will be deployed and how it solves the underlying  problem.


Learning and applying the creative problem solving process enriches standards through the addition of collaboration and teamwork, complex thinking, and real-world problem solving.


Competition/Qualifying Round

During the timed 2-hour competition round, teams or individuals analyze the Future Scene related to the Qualifying Topic and, utilizing the the six-step process, complete the Qualifying Booklet. They must be very time conscious, pacing themselves through the steps in order to complete them all within the allotted time.

- No research materials or notes are permitted during Qualifying.  


To view an example of a  Future Scene, click here.


For a video describing the attributes of the program please visit:


Meeting Educational Standards   

Schools require an effective model to teach critical and creative thinking, problem solving and decision making that meets state and national standards. 

FPS is aligned with:

  • Common Core State Standards Initiative

  • 21st Century Skills

  • STEM

  • National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) GIfted Programming Standards


English Language Arts/Literacy

  • Extensive reading of nonfiction/informational text.

  • Writing to the sources while using evidence from topic texts to build challenges, solutions, action plans and scenarios.

  • Using content materials in the Lexile stretch band level to increase exposure to complex texts.

  • Developing content rich academic vocabulary through diverse FPS topic material.

  • Building content area literacy in social studies, economics, technology and science through research of relevant topics.



  • Real world application of content.

  • Strategic use of appropriate mathematical tools.

  • Ability to solve problems beyond the math classroom.

  • Project development requiring demonstration of conceptual understanding.


  • Critical and creative thinking skills.

  • Appreciation of science and its role in innovation.

  • Encourages students to develop a vision for the future.

  • Exposure to research and career paths in STEM fields of study through a wide array of annual topics.

  • Challenges students to think about complex, authentic, futuristic world issues while teaching methodologies for solving these types of challenges.

21st Century Skills

  • Initiative.

  • Technological literacy.

  • Flexibility and adaptability.

  • Independent investigation.

  • Collaboration and teamwork.

  • Civic literacy and citizenship.

  • Global and cultural awareness.

  • Social responsibility and ethics.

  • Ethical leadership for positive change.

  • Competence across dimensions of learning.

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