Under the guidance of a coach or coaches, teams of four participants in grades 4-12, or adults beyond the high school level, use the FPSP six-step model to explore challenges and propose action plans to complex societal problems. Topics are selected by the vote of participants and coaches. This year's topics are Educational Disparities, It's All in the Genes, 3D Printing, and Identity Theft. The International Conference topic will be announced in the Spring of 2017.
Teams are divided into four divisions:
Grades 4 - 6 (Junior)
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 will be invited to the state bowl, the date and location to be announced soon. The winners in each division will advance to the FPSP International Conference in June.
Virginia teams and individuals won various competitions specifically for participants at the International Conference. Tahi Wiggins from Northumberland Middle School in Northumberland County won first place for On-Site Scenario Writing and was named Best Writer in the Middle Division. Tahi was coached by Shauna McCranie.
Megan Fellstrom from Midlothian Middle School in Chesterfield County won first place in the Middle Division of the Multi-Affiliate Global Issues Competition (MAGIC) Team Competition. MAGIC allows participants from around the world to demonstrate their expertise in the Creative Problem Solving process by working with other IC competitors in a team GIPS effort. Megan's team came from from Portugal, California, and Texas, as well as Virginia. She was coached by Mandy Chilcote.
A student may work individually rather than as a member of a team. An Individual completes all six steps when preparing a booklet, the work load is reduced for some steps. Practice Problem 1 requires only four challenges, one underlying problem, four solution ideas, three criteria for evaluation, three solutions on the grid, and an action plan. For Practice Problem 2 and the Qualifying Problem competitors generate eight challenges in step one and eight solution ideas in step three. In step five, the individual applies criteria to four solution ideas to determine the best solution for his/her action plan.
Andrew Vallant from Pocahontas Middle School in Powhatan County won fifth place in the Junior Division Individual Competition. He was coached by Jeanine Dolan.