Qualifying Problem

Welcome back!  I hope you had a satisfying and relaxing winter break!

I know many of you are already gearing up for the Qualifying Problem, “Megacities.”  Since this is a “competitive” booklet, the “competition” future scene will not be available to students or coaches until the two-hour session time begins.  Coaches, you’ll find two supplemental, or “practice” future scenes available when you click on the above “Coaches” tab –> “Coach Central” –> “Global Issues Problem Solving.”

As you plan your next month and a half of FPS, this document may come in handy.  It gives coaches an idea about what to study, when to study, as well as some ideas for practice two-hour sessions, and some FAQ (When and how will I get the competition future scenes?  Do we use ROCS or paper booklets?  When do we find out if we made it to state?)

Some more resources that may help you and your students prepare for the “Megacities” qualifying problem:

  • Do your research – learning more about the topic improves your team’s vocabulary and makes students aware of today’s problems (many of which will still exist or could even be amplified in the future)
  • The “Coach Central” has a list of “Megacities” terms, as well as an overview for the topic.  You can also find “Suggested Readings” for your teams’ use.
  • The International Office has two great resources available, especially for this topic:  Readings, Research, and Resources, and Megacities Topic Activity Unit.  Both of these are electronic versions that you can download and print for your teams’ use.
  • The Megacities Research Links are available from Nebraska FPS.  Your students may find other appropriate reserach online, as well.
  • Encourage your teams to study and learn the vocabulary terms for Megacities with this Quizlet.  There’s an iPad app for Quizlet, too!  (Makes studying fun!)

This is also a great time to team build and to prepare students to collaborate.  You’ll want to teach them some time management tricks, since they’ll only have two hours to complete their booklet.  Reading and analyzing a Future Scene (that they’ve never seen before), brainstorming and writing Challenges, selecting an Underlying Problem, brainstorming and writing Solutions, generating Criteria, applying Criteria, and developing an Action Plan is A LOT to accomplish in two hours.  Teams will feel more prepared if they’ve been given a chance to practice.

This document has a minute-by-minute breakdown of “who-does-what…when” for the two-hour session.  Your students may want to specialize (two Challenge writers, two Solution writers, a Criteria specialist, a Grid master, an Action Plan extraordinaire…).  If this is discussed and decided ahead of time, your students will “have a plan” going in to the competition, which may alleviate some stress and speed up the process for the team.  There are also some tips for the team on competition.  It would be a great one to use as a review in a meeting leading up to a practice (or real) two-hour session.

  • There are two “practice” future scenes for your team’s use in “Coach Central”
  • See “Coach Central” for coach-written examples – There are lots of well-written Challenges, UPs, Solutions, Criteria, and even an Action Plan.  Thank you to the coaches attending the Kearney training who helped to write some examples for teams’ use.
  • Don’t have time for a two-hour session?  Try conducting a 45 minute session.  In this amount of time, the team should be able to: read and analyze the Future Scene, brainstorm Challenges, select an Underlying Problem, and brainstorm Solutions.  (In a 45 minute session, students don’t actually have to write out any Challenge or Solution ideas, or do Steps 4-6).
Remember, the qualifying problem is due (postmarked) on February 20.  Any booklets that are “late” will not be considered for qualifying competition.  Knowing that illness and inclement weather have the potential to derail your best laid plans, it would be smart to schedule your two hour session as well as a “back up” date.
Looking ahead, here is a list of the things you’ll need to have in place for the qualifying problem two-hour session:
  • A location that is available, uninterrupted, for two hours.  Preferably, there should be as few distractions as possible in the space.  Students will need a table OR four moveable desks.  Plan for and reserve this spot now!
  • The sealed future scenes  [Coaches will receive these, by mail, during the last week in January]
  • Scratch paper [Many coaches like to provide both lined and blank white paper]
  • Booklet [Available to print and copy in “Coach Central”]
  • Dictionary, thesaurus
  • Writing utensils
  • You’ll want to advise one student (or the whole team) to wear a watch, so they’ll be able to monitor their time remaining.
A few reminders for the competition:
  • Be sure that students do not have notes or access to devices that have online capabilities (Smart Phones, computers, etc.)
  • An adult does not need to be present in the room while the students complete the two-hour session, but should monitor their starting and ending times.
  • An administrator must sign the cover sheet, stating that the competition was conducted in compliance with the FPS rules.
Additional Guidelines and Rules for Competition can be found in the “Coach Central” section of this website.  If there are any questions about preparation for or completion of the Qualifying Topic, please let me know.  We’re very excited about your students’ creative efforts.  Thank you for all you do for Nebraska FPSers.

Category: From The Director · Tags: ,

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