Pine Cobble Future Problem Solvers go to international championships

Written by bd_developer on June 7, 2012

June 7, 2012. WILLIAMSTOWN. A team of Pine Cobble fourth and fifth grade students departed this morning for the international championships of the Future Problem Solvers’ Club, junior division. The championships are held in Bloomington, Indiana.

Future Problem Solvers (FPS) 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. Future Problem Solvers is a new extracurricular activity at Pine Cobble School, established in January by Williams Fellows Corey Baldwin and Sarah Dewey.

A four-person team of Sophie Lane (fifth grade) Andrea Printz (fifth), Aidan White (fifth), and Jakob Zimmerman (fourth) qualified for the State Bowl earlier this spring, and took second in the state of Massachusetts.

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. Where possible, they also speak with experts.

The students received second place in the overall state competition, and third place for their dramatic presentation of their action plan. Most of the schools in the competition have larger student enrollments than PC and have had aFPSPI program in place for several years.

“We’re just so proud of these students,” said Sarah Dewey, who went to the international FPS championships as a child. “They have been competing against much larger schools, with more established FPS programs. They’ve just been so motivated to learn about their world.”

FPS prepares students to face the challenges of the coming century by helping them to think critically, creatively, and collaboratively. The program teaches elementary and secondary students to apply problem solving skills to global and community problems. It opens doors to students’ imaginations, leading youngsters to discover rich and varied ways of thinking and to experience the satisfaction of resolving difficult problems with unique solutions. Skills learned can be applied to any curriculum throughout a lifetime. By dealing with problems set in the future, students learn to deal with issues they will encounter as leaders of tomorrow.

Pine Cobble is a coeducational day school founded in 1937. Nestled in a beautiful setting originally designed as an estate by Olmsted Associates, Pine Cobble supports intellectual rigor, curiosity, and creativity within a caring community. A fundamental tenet of the Pine Cobble experience is character education; nine character pillars — compassion, gratitude, respect, honesty, responsibility, patience, self-control, courage, and cooperation are woven into every aspect of the students’ lives. The School currently serves 125 students, ages two-years-nine-months through ninth grade, from Berkshire County, southern Vermont, and eastern New York.

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