Secondary School Future Problem Solving

Secondary School

Future Problem Solving

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Future Problem Solving is an international educational program that focuses on the development of creative thinking skills, in particular problem identification and positive solutions to those problems. The aim of Future Problem Solving is to develop critical, creative and futuristic thinking skills. It challenges students to use their imagination and to design and promote positive solutions to some of the significant issues facing both the world of today, and the future.

Secondary School students currently participate in three facets of the program; Community Problem Solving, Scenario Writing and Scenario Performance.

Community Problem Solving

In Community Problem Solving students apply the problem solving process to real-life problems within communities. Students initially research an area of chosen focus and find an underlying problem and its cause. Students then come up with multiple strategies to solve the problem, and use criteria to select the most effective methods, creating an action plan to implement their strategy.

The work is student driven and individuals take on roles within the team that reflect their strengths. Students need to ensure that they are not working in isolation but are sharing their knowledge with others in the school, to increase their involvement.

The teams work for approximately five months on their project before submitting a qualifying report to Future Problem Solving evaluators. Ten percent of entries are invited to the Australian National Finals. First and second placed teams at the Finals, are invited to compete at the International Future Problem Solving Conference in USA the following year, and continue evolving their projects. At the International Conference, students compete against winners from 12 other countries. By the time teams reach the USA, their projects will have been operating for approximately 18 months.

Ravenswood has performed extremely well in the program. In 2014, the team came first at the International Conference for an initiative supporting the English needs of underprivileged children attending Heartland Children’s Academy in Nepal.

Scenario Writing and Scenario Performance

Selected Secondary School students are invited to enter either Scenario Writing or Scenario Performance. There are five different topics each year. Students select one topic for their area of research. The researched content is set at least 20 years in the future.

In Scenario Writing, students write a scenario of no more than 1500 words. A scenario is a short story which projects into the future, a possible set of circumstances which are a logical outcome of actions or events which might take place in the present. As the scenario evolves, students have regular meetings with the coach, in order to discuss their ideas and use of language for their developing characters and plot.

In Scenario Performance, students develop their scenario but it is presented as an oral storytelling, which is submitted in one take on a DVD. The story should be between 4-5 minutes in length and presented without the use of props or aids.

Students in Scenario Writing and Scenario Performance compete nationally each year, and first place winners represent Australia in June of the following year, at the International Future Problem Solving Conference in the USA.