Mission Statement

The mission of the Minnesota Future Problem Solving Program is to teach a process for identifying and resolving problems in an innovative and timely manner with respect to our situation today and our world tomorrow.

How to Participate

Participation begins with a school-approved coach.

Coaches may be teachers, retired teachers, parents, or volunteers from the community.
Coaches receive training by attending an MN FPSP sponsored workshop.
Workshops are conducted by the Executive Director or FPSP trainers.  A workshop fee is charged.
Another way to participate is to become a state certified evaluator.  Training is provided at no charge.
Volunteers are also needed for regional, state, and international competitions.
Email Cheryl for more information about any of the above opportunities.

FPS Curriculum

A Look at the FPS Curriculum

We are often asked how some coaches get so much time to prepare their students for an academic competition.  Kids are busy these days, especially in the middle and high school years.  They have jobs, their music, and often sports.  We feel that we are spending more energy on competing for time than on preparing for the competition.


  1. Full Semester Course:  A full-time course that meets for the equivalent of a semester of 18 weeks.  This timeline allows for the incorporation of many of the extension activities.  Without using those activities, the course may fit into a 12 week session.
  1. Year-Long Integration:  Integrated throughout the year in a classroom or core subject area   
  2. Two-Year Implementation:
    1. Year 1: “Preparation for Problem Solving” and “Problem Solving Experiences 1-4”
    2. Year 2: Review of “Preparation for Problem Solving” and “Problem Solving Experiences 5-8”
  3. Three-Year Implementation:
    1. Year 1: “Preparation for Problem Solving” and “Problem Solving Experiences 1-2”
    2. Year 2: Review of “Preparation for Problem Solving” and “Problem Solving Experiences 3-5”
    3. Year 3: Review of “Preparation for Problem Solving” and “Problem Solving Experiences 6-8”
  4. Four-Year Implementation:
    1. Year 1: “Preparation for Problem Solving” and “Problem Solving Experiences 1-2”
    2. Year 2: Review of “Preparation for Problem Solving” and “Problem Solving Experiences 3-4”
    3. Year 3: Review of “Preparation for Problem Solving” and “Problem Solving Experiences 5-6”
    4. Year 4: Review of “Preparation for Problem Solving” and “Problem Solving Experiences 7-8”
  5. Cross-Curricular Studies:
    1. Language Arts: “Preparation for Problem Solving” and the first five problem  solving experiences, which are based on literature
    2. Science: “Problem Solving Experience 6,” about smart clothes
    3. Social Studies: “Problem Solving Experiences 7/8,” about digital music rights and prejudice

It is not necessary to complete every activity or experience.  If you decide to skip some of them, it is recommended that you review the missed experience to see what new skills or extensions of skills are introduced so that you can include those in your next set of activities.

Competitive Problem Solving:  This course is intended as instructional material.  However, the instruction does parallel skills needed for competition.  Students could move from this curriculum into competitive problem solving at any point if there is an interest in doing so.  Problem Solving Experience 8, the final one, includes information on competitive evaluation and could serve as a strong transition into competitive problem solving.  It is not necessary to complete this entire course before considering a competitive program.  

Check out our website for more information about engaging your students in real life challenges while having fun doing it!

FPSP Components

Team Problem Solving

Under the guidance of a teacher/coaches, teams of four students in grades 4-12 use the FPSP 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)
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 scoring teams on the qualifying problem are invited to Affiliate FPS Bowls held each spring. The winners of each respective Affiliate FPS Bowl advance to the FPSP International Conference in June.

Individual Problem Solving

Individual competition is offered in affiliate programs choosing to administer an individual program. A student works individually rather than as a member of a team. Check with the affiliate director of your respective program for additional information on individual competition.

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).

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.

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, each affiliate director may submit its top three essays to the International Scenario Writing Competition.