Group dedicated to solving our problems

Thomas Gilligan

The Future Problem Solvers return for their second season, ready to solve all the problems that come their way. Doubling in size since their first year, the Future Problem Solvers are practicing twice a week to make sure their solutions are good enough to take them to the state tournament.

Future Problem Solvers (FPS) is a group where the participants––usually in teams of four––are given a plausible scenario that may occur within the next 40 to 60 years and they must find a solution. “Some of the scenarios we have talked about have been an enhanced Olympics division and a scientifically advanced diet to enable people in the future to live longer,” said junior Kate Hinkens.

The team practices before school, working on their brainstorming, convergent thinking, and divergent thinking skills. “My favorite part of practice has to be the warm-ups. We usually use a lot of fun topics like nursery rhymes; they’re a ton of fun to talk about,” said junior Glynnis Forsberg.

The first two competitions are write-in competitions where the team sends a write-up of each step they must do in the process of solving their problem. A judge then scores their write-up and ranks the teams among other schools.

In a competition, the team brainstorms the challenges of the problem, identifies the underlying problems, comes up with solutions, and creates an action plan off of one of their solutions. “We take plausible problems that could occur in the future and we have to create at least 16 solutions to each problem by brainstorming,” said Hinkens.

Ms. Green, the FPS coach, participated in the activity when she was in high school and really enjoyed it. “It’s a great different kind of activity that people don’t really get involved with… it really promotes creativity and problem solving,” said Ms. Green

The team looks to get the bulk of their wins from returning problem solvers Nils Swenson, Kate Hinkens, Levi Caffes, Alex Smith, Glynnis Forsberg as well as newcomers Megan Pavlik and Kate Whitney. “The majority of our team is sophomores through seniors,” said Ms. Green.

In their season, FPS plans on competing against against other high schools and will go on to regions in February. The team hopes to get to the state tournament this year after seeing their season end in regions last year.