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Problem Solvers of the Future

This year, as part of our extension program, Covenant has again participated in Future Problem Solving, an international thinking and analysis competition for students. For the past semester, students from Year 6 to Year 8 have been immersed in before-school training, engaging collaboratively in a range of complex topics. 

Today, we interviewed Year 7 team member, Carys Turvey. 

Carys, tell us, what you have been doing today for Future Problem Solving? 

This morning we did the qualifying problem for Future Problem Solving. Future Problem Solving is a competition where you get a future scenario. There are different areas and we do GIPS which stands for Global Issues Problem Solving. That means that we get a future global scene and we identify problems around a given topic or charge. Then we pick one problem. It becomes the underlying problem. We find solutions to the underlying problem and charge. We write criteria to find the best solution. Then we write an action which shows how the solution will work. 

What was topic today and why was it interesting? 

Today we were doing gamification which was really interesting. Gamification is applying game techniques to a normally boring task. It can be online or on paper (e.g. coffee cards). It makes the task a bit more enjoyable. It can be misused. It can be used for selfish goals or can become overly competitive. Some people can become overly focussed on the reward rather than the actual task e.g. learning. 

Today, some of the ways which gamification was used in the future scene were good but some had problems because the programmers hadn’t thought it through and had made it really competitive. 

What other topics have you studied? 

This year we also looked at how modern life is affecting our sleep and we looked at virtual travel. Last year, we studied food waste and stress. 

Have these topics proved helpful for your life?

When we looked at sleep, I realised that different people have different patterns and it is better to adhere to your productive hours rather than follow routine sleep schedules 

What do you like about Future Problem Solving? 

I like that you get to be creative and that you get to solve problems that could be reality in a few years time. The scenes aren’t at all far-fetched. Also, it’s great work with other people. Sometimes one of your team members will say something and it can give you an idea and you can jump off their idea to create an even stronger idea. It is really interesting to see where you go with all these perspectives. Sometimes we might write an idea on the board and then another team member can take it a different direction. This can lead to identifying better problems and solutions. 

How will FPS help you in the future?

A lot of research goes into it and many of the topics are applicable now. You can see how many situations can play out and perhaps deteriorate. You can see how different ways of acting can make things better or worse and you can explore those ideas. 

It teaches you to work to a time limit and it helps us to analyse. It also helps me in terms of creativity. Sometimes when you are nearing the end of your time it is the random idea which ends up being your best.