Educators' Guide

New York educators today face a unique problem, they require an effective model to teach critical / creative thinking, problem solving, and decision-making, while also maintaining compatibility with state and national standards. NYFPS is the solution that meets these needs. FPS can be implemented in the classroom or as an extracurricular activity. Teachers and school advisors can make a lasting impact on their students by bringing the FPS experience into students' education.

FPS encourages students from grades 4-12 (or equivalent) to become more aware of a diverse range of community and global topics. These include business and economics, science and technology, and social and political concerns affecting our world today. Some of the topics include STEM, Global Citizenship, and Social Sciences issues.

Bring Lessons To Life

Through competitions, FPS brings lessons to the next level. FPS encourages students to become inquirers; developing an affinity for researching, constructing, and applying complex theories and technologies.


Real world problems are often multi-layered. FPS teaches students to take a step back and examine the bigger picture and understand emerging trends. FPS competition topics, such as nanotechnology, are explored in creative and critical ways to find solutions to global issues. Working in teams, ideas are refined and applied. In competition, students see how others solve the same problem, resulting in an incredible learning experience.

Furthermore, in CmPS, FPS enables students to step beyond theory to think about a creative solution to a local problem, execute an action plan, and build on these solutions.

Pastel Swirl

Getting Started

The first step is to determine which component(s) you and your students are interested in: Global Issues Problem Solving (GIPS), Community Problem Solving (CmPS), or Scenario Writing. The FPS coach is typically the person who will register students and receive materials, so the teacher or school advisor will often fill this role as well as communicate with NYFPS. A non-competitive component, Curriculum Supplement, is also offered to allow educators to teach FPS in the classroom without the competition aspect of the program.


Materials are available to enhance learning of the process and provide support. Basic helpful virtual resources can be found on our Resources page. NYFPS also offers On-site Training for coaches and students.

Furthermore, FPSPI offers a wide range of educational and instructional materials as well as virtual content. Virtual support is available through videos and instructional e-learning experiences. Please discuss with our Executive Director after registration, so we can help suggest which FPSPI materials would support you the most.


Once registered for the desired components, participants starts with practice topics and preliminary project deadlines to support learning through feedback provided by our Evaluators. Students learn from this iterative process allowing for improvement. After the practice topics, competitive topics are offered for qualification submissions to the State Conference. State champions advance to the International Conference. At the International Conference your students will get a chance to compete and collaborate with problem solvers from all over the globe.


Core Competencies

These four essential skills underscore the FPS process.

Scenarios are set in the future to stimulate inventive thinking when problem solving. Students are encouraged to extrapolate future possibilities from the present.

Students analysis a scenario to gain an understanding of issues and apply those determinations to comprehend the critical  aspects of complex situations.


Teamwork is developed as students work through challenging and exciting situations while applying problem solving skills.


While working within a team or the community, students develop clear and articulate communication skills. Ideas are presented in written form and verbally.

Skillset Development

Reading / Literacy

  • Extensive reading of non-fiction / informational text

  • Build content area literacy through research of the specific topics

  • Opportunity for writing using evidence from texts to build challenges, solutions, action plans, and scenarios

  • Content in the Lexile stretch band to increase exposure to complex texts

  • Development of content-rich academic vocabulary and comprehension skills through diverse annual topics

Leadership / Responsibility

  • Apply problem solving skills to guide a team toward a goal

  • Seek other perspectives and experiences to contribute to local and global community

  • Demonstrate integrity and ethical behavior

  • Serve the community

21st Century Skills

  • Learn and utilize skills of creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration (Core Competencies)

  • Assess and evaluate information in an efficient and effective manner

  • Apply information accurately and creatively

  • Examine how and why media messages are constructed

Life / Career Skills

  • Ethical leadership for positive change

  • Gift and talent development

  • Independent investigation

  • Achievement in areas across dimensions of learning

  • Incorporate feedback effectively

  • Adapt to changing situations, roles, and contexts

Math / Finance

  • Real world application of content

  • The ability to solve mathematical problems beyond the classroom

  • Strategic use of appropriate mathematical tools

  • Financial and economic choices

  • Project development requiring demonstration of conceptual understanding

Pastel Swirl

Annual Topics

Each year FPSPI announces the topics for the school year which are aimed to help students more aware of a diverse range of contemporary global trends. These topics represent themes and concepts from the strands of Business & Economics, Social & Political, and Science & Technology. Educators can leverage these topics to further enhance lesson plans and incorporate these important issues within classroom discussions as well.

Explore the topics and read brief descriptions for this school year. 

Examples of recent topics include:



Alternative Energy

Artificial Intelligence


Cyber Conflict

Invasive Species


Global Citizenship

  • Climate Change

  • Cultural Prejudice

  • Environmental Law

  • Food Loss & Waste

  • Freedom of Speech

  • Global Status of Women

  • Orphaned Children

Social Sciences

  • Coping with Stress

  • Healthy Living

  • The Global Workplace

  • The Impact of Social Media

  • Rage and Bullying

  • Sensory Overload

  • Social Isolation


GIPS Skills

Global Issues Problem Solving (GIPS) aims to facilitate students’ ability to approach situations using a structured analytical and repeatable framework. In learning about futuristic topics and using the six-step problem solving framework, students are able to develop their thinking skills and enhance their creativity.

FPSPI has identified key skills targeted through GIPS and they align with many educational standards. Educators can review these skills to determine if they are in alignment with the standards followed by their school.


Comprehension and Collaboration

  • Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas, and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

  • Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

  • Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

New York Future Problem Solving Program



Start Your Students' FPS Journey