Team Problem Solving

Under the guidance of a teacher/coaches, teams of four to six students in grades 4-12 use the FPS 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), and Grades 10 - 12 (Senior) Teams 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 seven scoring teams on the qualifying problem are invited to the State Bowl held each spring. The winners of the State Bowl in each division receive bids to the FPSP International Conference in June.

In 1998, students from Woodbridge High School in Woodbridge, New Jersey won 2nd Place at the International Conference in the Senior Division of Team Problem Solving. In 2002, students from Park Ridge High School in Park Ridge, New Jersey placed 4th in the Senior Division at the Conference, and students from Freehold Intermediate Middle School in Freehold, New Jersey placed 7th in the Junior Division there as well.

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Individual Problem Solving

In this competition which runs parallel to team problem solving, a student works individually rather than as a member of a team. The individual follows the same six steps on a smaller scale

The top three scoring individuals on the qualifying problem are invited to the State Bowl held each spring. The winner of the State Bowl in each division recieve bids to the FPS International Conference in June.

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Action-based Problem Solving

This year-long, non-competitive component is designed for use in the regular classroom and introduces students to the skills of creative problem solving in a hands-on, non-threatening manner. Teams consisting of four-six students are encouraged to work on two topics, one per semester. Three divisions are offered: Primary (grades K-3), Junior (grades 3-6) and Middle (grades 6-9).

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Community Problem Solving (CmPS)

Teams 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.

In 2002, students from the Dr. John Howard Jr. Unique School of Excellence in East Orange, New Jersey won the International Grand Championship in the Junior Division of CmPS, having completed a project in which they united and assisted people in their community who had experienced personal tragedies in their lives.

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Scenario Writing

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. Additionally, the top three essays are entered in the International Scenario Writing Competition.

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