Will McDonough, Eric Printz and Sophie Lane won the Future Problem Solvers State Bowl. They will next attend the international conference in Bloomington, Ind., from June 6-9.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A team of Pine Cobble students won first place in the Future Problem Solvers Massachusetts State Bowl. Fourth-grader Will McDonough, fifth-grader Eric Printz and sixth-grader Sophie Lane will now attend the International Conference, in Bloomington, Ind., from June 6 to 9.
A second team, comprised of fourth-grader Josh Polumbo, sixth-grader Colette Stapp and sixth-grader Joshua Payne also qualified for the State Bowl.
Future Problem Solvers challenges students to develop real-world solutions to some of the world's most complex problems — from human rights to environmental challenges to global economics. To qualify for the State Bowl, teams had to tackle a problem with complex solutions during a two-hour statewide challenge, with no input from their coach.
During competition, students are presented with a hypothetical future scene and they must identify both challenges and solutions to the biggest challenge, ending with an action plan for the future government and world. The topic for the State Bowl was "ocean soup," focusing on sea pollution. The International Conference will feature a competition on the topic of the global status of women.
This is the second year of the Pine Cobble Future Problem Solving club. The program was started in January 2012 by Sarah Dewey and Corey Baldwin when they were Pine Cobble's Williams Fellows. Dewey, now a Spanish and English faculty member, led the club this year.
Students spend weeks learning about a topic – like trade barriers or international pharmaceutical distribution – by defining the terms (e.g. subsidies, supply and demand, free trade) and reading articles about current events. They also spend time talking with experts about the issues that surround that topic.
"I'm thrilled for these students," said Sarah Dewey, who went to the international FPS championships as a child. "They have been working so hard, thinking creatively and collaboratively about some of the world’s most complex challenges."
Dewey noted that the teams were competing against much larger schools, with more established FPS programs.