Future Problem Solving girls off to the US to compete at International finals

Maya, Lyla and Isabella will soon represent St Andrew’s, Queensland and Australia at the Future Problem Solving International Finals at Wisconsin University, La Cross from Wednesday June 6 until Sunday June 10.

The Year 8 students are competing in the Future Problem Solving Community Problem Solving component with their project titled 'Recycling Our Planet'.

The project evolved during the Year 7 Community Problem Solving classes in Semester 1 2017.

The girls were invited to the International Finals when the team finished second in the Years 7 - 9 section of the National Finals, at Knox Grammar School in Sydney in October 2017.

In Wisconsin, the ‘Recycling our Planet’ team will compete against school teams from 36 states of the USA, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, New Zealand, Russia and Australia.

We congratulate the girls on their accomplishments so far and wish them every success at the International Finals.

The team were recently interviewed by ABC journalist Jon Coghill for a radio news story. Stay tuned for details and photos here on our website and on the St Andrew's Facebook page in the coming weeks.

For an earlier story on the team's project, click here. 

Aims to develop the ability of young people globally to design and achieve positive futures through problem solving using critical and creative thinking.

What is FPSPI?

FPSPI is a dynamic international program involving thousands of students annually from around the world. Developed in 1974 by creativity pioneer Dr. E. Paul Torrance, Future Problem Solving (FPS) provides competitive and non-competitive components for today’s curriculum via a six-step model which teaches critical and creative thinking, problem solving, and decision making.

Future Problem Solving Components:

FPS provides components to fit the various needs of students in the 21st Century. This interdisciplinary program promotes skills to overcome obstacles or barriers when confronting challenges and developing solutions to social, political, scientific, economic, and technological issues. FPS promotes interpersonal communication, ethical leadership, and responsible group membership through its various components

The Future Problem Solving Six-Step Model:

  1. Identify challenges related to the topic or Future Scene
  2. Select an Underlying Problem
  3. Produce solution ideas to the Underlying Problem
  4. Generate and select criteria to evaluate solution ideas
  5. Evaluate solution ideas
  6. Develop an Action Plan

Click here to see the Recycling our Planet team's Final Addendum, which captures the team's journey visually. 

Part I: Project Overview

Area of Concern: After observing the common behaviors of many St Andrews Anglican College students, it is clear that the student population of our college are not using the provided recycling and landfill bins correctly.  This is evident by the amount of litter that is visible around our school grounds, and even in some of the classrooms and other learning spaces in both the Primary and Secondary school. We believe that this problem has had continuous effects because our school community does not have the correct educational sources to be informed on the importance of litter management. 16 months ago, our Head of Facilities, Mrs Tania Lee, implemented a program focused on increasing the awareness within the school community on the negative effects of not recycling appropriately. Recycling bins were placed throughout the Secondary school grounds as a trial. 6 months in, the ‘Recycling our Planet’ team identified that Mrs Lee’s program had not been successful due to the apparent negligence and apathy that a high percentage of the students at St Andrews displayed. Our research included an audit of both the recycling and landfill bins. Our findings were extremely disappointing, as under 10% of the litter analysed was correctly deposited. Due to these poor results, we had no other option but to remove the recycling bins from St Andrews, however, after further educational sources were available for the students, including games and activities, and interactive performances for the Primary students, and visuals for the Secondary school students, we were able to reopen recycling bins throughout our school. Due to the schools poor recycling habits, we cannot access the Sunshine Coast Council’s recycling program, as our litter would contaminate their entire recycling plant. A significant fine is in place to deter potential contamination. Our intention is to develop an educational program within the school, supported by Mrs. Lee and teachers to increase the understanding and responsibility of students with respect to litter in our school. This will focus particularly on the differentiation between landfill and recyclable litter. Our group aspires to create greater understanding and awareness of litter in both our immediate school environment and the local community. We hope to get our local retirement community on board with our project by getting recycling bins placed throughout their homes. We will be targeting all year levels of the school from Prep – Year 12, with an emphasis on an educational games-based program in the Primary School that will introduce and consolidate an understanding of correct litter management, supported by teachers in Years – Prep to 6.  In the Secondary School, we will be targeting Years 7-12, with respect to creating an awareness of the correct procedures about recyclable and landfill litter. There will also be an emphasis on importance of correct litter management in both our school and the wider community.

B. Challenges Identified: The ‘Recycling Our Planet’ team have identified a number of challenges they face in developing an effective and sustainable litter management program at St Andrew’s Anglican College:

Since certain areas of our school grounds are consistently littered, it may be possible that the student’s lack of rubbish control will negatively affect the schools’ environment and aesthetics.
Since there is a litter problem in our school, it may be possible that some of the students are not interested in being educated on litter control.
Since we need to educate our student body with respect to litter management, it may be possible that we do not have enough time or may not have the recourses to educate both the students and teachers of our school.
Conveying a positive message about correct litter management may be difficult, as our school is both a Primary and Secondary College and communicating a consistent approach about litter management may be challenging because of the size, age levels, timetable’s and attitudes of our community.
Since we are Junior Secondary School students, many of the older student population may not value our opinion and passion with respect to recycling and positive litter management.
As our student population comes from a diverse demographic we may be faced with apathy towards litter that stems from one’s home environment.
Since we have observed apathy towards correct litter management, how might we create a change in student attitudes both in the short and long term?
As the implementation of recycling and landfill bins at our school will be a financial commitment, how might we access funds to allocate bins to various parts of the Primary and Secondary School?
The implementation of our educational program will be time-consuming and require our group to access time off class and resources to assist us in our litter management program.
Since our school grounds are at times heavily littered, how might we develop an awareness amongst the school population of correct litter control, so that the litter will not attract vermin and detract from the natural beauty of our College grounds.

Underlying Problem

Due to the fact that our aesthetically beautiful school grounds are being affected by incorrect litter disposal, how might we educate the St Andrews Anglican College school student population to be more sensitive to the correct disposal of litter, so as to increase their proactiveness with respect to litter management, in the year 2017 and beyond.

Intended Plan of Action: The ‘Recycling Our Planet’ team decided that our school needed to be more aware of the consequences of not managing their litter correctly and instigated plans to develop a positive school community approach to litter management. We, the ‘Recycling our Planet’ team will create a fun and engaging way to educate our fellow students in the younger year levels about incorrect litter disposal, and we will create visible and educational ways, such as posters and articulating our ideas at assembly to get our older students involved. To solve these issues, we will develop a curriculum-based activity pack called ‘Bin it to win it’ based on the principles of recycling and litter management within our school and wider community. This program will be launched in conjunction with the commencement of 2018 school year and will provide education for the prep to year six students in the Primary School. As we are teaching the students at a young age, we will encourage them to recycle in the future, and encourage them to use their recycling knowledge at home. We will create a cooperative environmental group by the name of ‘Green School’, which will enable our team members to inspire others to be more careful of their litter management and to show how recycling affects the world. We anticipate attitude changes in the short term being reflected in bin selection and less litter within the school’s grounds. We will via ‘Green School’ create an on-going educational program that will effectively promote the message about incorrect litter disposal and the consequences of not managing rubbish throughout the day at school.  We are commencing to implement our program in the St Andrew's School community however we are striving to get the wider community involved in the long term.