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Student Work: Booklet – Terraforming (Senior)

In the future scene, it is 2045 and humans have created six settlements on Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter with harsh and demanding conditions. Colonists are working to establish a functional society where basic necessities like gravity and oxygen pose intricate logistical, geological, social, and ethical dilemmas. The first presidential election is approaching, which has revealed diverse challenges and visions for the future. The full future scene is an attached PDF below.

Students were asked to respond to the future scene and the challenge to the problem solvers: “Terraforming Ganymede has not been without its struggles, but the colonists have proven themselves up to the task. As they embark on a new chapter in the colony’s story, they are asking for your assistance to examine the challenges and identify an underlying problem addressing an important situation that terraforming Ganymede has created.”

Additional Information
Student: Kate (California)
Topic: Terraforming
Division: Senior
Competition: 2020 International Conference (First Place)
Evaluation Highlights: At the world finals, students receive feedback from a team of evaluators. See highlights of their feedback at the end of this article.
Original Formatting: See the student work with its original formatting in an attached PDF below.

Student Work – Booklet

Step 1 – Identify challenges

  1. If Ganymede citizens are exposed to high levels of UV radiation, then they might experience health issues such as increased risk of cancer. This may be a problem because future generations may continue to suffer from illnesses.
  2. If citizens of Ganymede have experienced vision loss and other effects of microgravity, then their health issues might impede them from staying physically healthy. This might be a problem because the people of Ganymede might not be able to fulfill their work duties and suffer from exhaustion.
  3. If the people of Ganymede have lost family and friends who died when the GanyShuttle flew too close to Jupiter, then they may have heightened feelings of anxiety and depression. This could 3 be a problem because the citizens may experience short-term and long-term mental health problems.
  4. If Blair Legrand’s political agenda is mainly driven by his business interests and Ingalil Abboud’s political agenda is mainly driven by the colonists’ preferences, then the election of Blair Legrand might result in incomplete representation of the colonists’ needs. This may be a problem because it could cause conflict and inequality between the government of Ganymede and colonists.
  5. If Ganymede is using nuclear fission technology transmitted through the underground ocean in order to generate heat, then there may be an increased risk of ecological damage on Ganymede. This may be a problem because it could lead to instability of the environment of Ganymede.
  6. If Blair Legrand is proposing a new line of hoverpods that use magnets with Ganymede’s natural iron core, then the hoverpods could experience fluctuations in speed and functionality depending on the magnetic attraction to Ganymede’s iron core. This could be a problem because it could decrease the efficiency of the hoverpods.
  7. If UV shields proposed by Blair Legrand are installed to decrease radiation rates, then crops grown on hydro-farms might die out due to lower UV radiation. This could be a problem because it could limit the citizens’ access to basic needs such as food.
  8. If Ganymede First Party proposes maintaining the temperature of the atmosphere at 293 Kelvin, then the election of Blair Legrand could result in the majority of the residents’ preferences not being represented. This may be a problem because the residents’ quality of life might be decreased.

Step 2 – Select an underlying problem

Using the challenges listed in Step 1, students identify a problem of major importance to the Future Scene situation. Students write their Underlying Problem making sure their question clearly explains the action that will be taken and the desired results/goal of that action.

Because terraforming efforts on Ganymede have endangered the health of colonists how might we minimize the negative impact of terraforming on the health of the citizens of Ganymede so that the safety of the citizens of Ganymede can be protected in the year 2045 and beyond in the topic of terraforming in Ganymede?

Step 3 – Produce solution ideas

  1. Ganymede Department of Energy will test and implement forms of alternative energy such as solar energy. The use of alternative energy will eventually be increased and incorporated into the energy infrastructure of Ganymede to help minimize the potential negative effects of nuclear energy on citizens. This solves the underlying problem because it protects the health and safety of Ganymede citizens.
  2. Ganymede Health Services will work with the newly elected president to implement E-health services that alleviate loneliness. These E-health services will include smart wearable devices and AI chatbots that will interact with citizens of Ganymede, providing therapy to alleviate their anxiety and depression. This solves the underlying problem because it boosts the health of Ganymede citizens affected by the loss of their family and friends.
  3. The Ganymede government will issue a new set of regulations for the use of nuclear fission- generated energy. These regulations will indicate the extent of nuclear energy generation, including its location relative to Ganymede communities. This solves the underlying problem because it reduces the potential risk of harm of the nuclear fission-generated energy on Ganymede colonists.
  4. Ganymede Department of Human Health will launch a research program that will investigate countermeasures to the effects of microgravity on colonists. It will collect data on Ganymede citizens currently suffering from health issues and use this to implement measures such as virtual reality simulations to promote motor and sensory functions and exercise regimens. This will solve the underlying problem because it will help to decrease the health issues that citizens of Ganymede are experiencing.
  5. Ganymede Center for Technology Services will implement new silica aerogel infrastructure over the Ganymede settlements. The aerogel will maintain the atmospheric temperature between 295 and 297 Kelvin preferred by Ganymede residents and limit sunlight penetrance. 5 The aerogel will be removed from hydro-farms to allow enough visible light needed for growth of plants. This solves the underlying problem because it helps create favorable conditions that protect the safety of Ganymede residents.
  6. Ganymede Health Services will launch an educational program dedicated to teaching citizens how to maintain their health. The educational program will encourage citizens to wear protective patches preventing exposure to radiation and avoid UV radiation exposure. The program will also encourage exercise to maintain health. This solves the underlying problem because it aids in boosting the health of Ganymede citizens.
  7. Ganymede Coalition of Scientists will collaborate with the government to use genetically engineered algae, bacteria, and plants to maintain favorable atmospheric conditions. These genetically engineered microbes will release gases to thicken the atmosphere in order to prevent excess UV radiation and regulate the temperature of the atmosphere. This solves the underlying problem because it protects the health of Ganymede citizens.
  8. The Ganymede government will collaborate with businesses to form a government-private- public joint venture. This partnership will ensure that security and safety regulations for technologies such as the GanyShuttles and hoverpods are met. In addition, the partnership will regulate nuclear fission-generated energy and other forms of energy. This solves the underlying problem because it protects the safety of Ganymede citizens.

Step 4 – Select criteria

  1. Which solution will minimize the negative impact of terraforming on the health of Ganymede 1 citizens the most?
  2. Which solution will protect the safety of the citizens of Ganymede the most?
  3. Because terraforming efforts have already endangered the health of colonists on Ganymede,which solution will take the least amount of time?
  4. Which solution will be the most accepted by the citizens of Ganymede?
  5. Which solution will benefit future generations of citizens on Ganymede in the most sustainable and long-lasting way?

Step 5 – Apply criteria

Step 5 grid
Step 5 Criteria Grid

Step 6 – Develop an action plan

Ganymede Center for Technology Services will implement new silica aerogel infrastructure over the Ganymede settlements. The aerogel will warm the settlements enough to maintain the atmospheric temperature between 295 and 297 Kelvin preferred by Ganymede residents. It will also limit UV radiation penetration while allowing visible light to pass through for plants to complete photosynthesis, ensuring sufficient food for the colonists.

Initially, a prototype for the aerogel will be developed for each of the six settlements to enclose residential and commercial areas. In addition, the aerogel’s properties will be specifically designed and adapted to Ganymede atmospheric conditions. Next, a six-month trial period will be allocated to test the aerogel in a small section of one of the Ganymede settlements, and changes in atmospheric conditions will be monitored. Once the effectiveness of the aerogel is determined, it will be implemented on a larger scale in the settlements.

The aerogel will be effective in minimizing the negative impact of UV radiation and temperature fluctuations on Ganymede citizens and their future generations. It will also maintain citizens’ health in a sustainable and long-lasting way, affecting future generations to come. While the aerogel development may take more time to implement, the positive effects on the health and safety of the colonists will overcome the amount of time required. In addition, while the Ganymede First party may not initially support the development of the aerogel as Blair Legrand proposed the installation of UV shields, the Ganymede First party will eventually agree with the aerogel once they see the positive effects on the health of citizens.

This solves the underlying problem because it helps create favorable conditions that protect the safety of Ganymede residents. The aerogel will provide a sustainable way to maintain and boost citizens’ health.

Evaluation Highlights

At all stages of competition, registered students receive authentic assessment of their competitive writing submissions from trained evaluators. Our rubric-based evaluations share learner-focused feedback to support students in their growth as writers and creative thinkers.

Evaluators use the rubric to provide quantitative feedback as they score student submissions. Evaluators leave qualitative feedback as comments for students, in order to support their future competition submissions and thinking skills. At our world finals, students receive feedback from multiple evaluators.

Here are highlights from the evaluation team about this submission:

  • Step 1 – Good variety in challenges hitting the categories of physical health, psychological health, government & politics, environment, transportation, and basic needs. Well explained!
  • Step 2 – Great job on identifying an underlying problem that appropriately addresses the charge and is a significant problem to solve.
  • Step 3 – Good elaboration and variety in solutions, addressing technology, law & justice, physical health, environment, education, and defense.
  • Step 4 – Good choices for criteria! Be careful, the last one has two dimensions, so it is not correctly written.
  • Step 5 – Perfect! The grid was applied correctly.
  • Step 6 – Student scored in the “very good” to “exemplary” section for each criterion.
  • Overall – It was a good booklet and it is clear that you understand the Future Problem Solving writing process. Work on incorporating research throughout the booklet. Nice work with this packet! It’s a pretty amazing thing to make it to this level of competition, and you should be very proud of yourself!

Disclaimer: Student work and evaluator comments may have been adjusted by Future Problem Solving for privacy and clarity.

Attachment – Submission PDF

Attachment – Future Scene

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April Michele

April Michele Bio

Executive Director

A seasoned educator, April Michele has served as the Executive Director since 2018 and been with Future Problem Solving more than a decade. Her background in advanced curriculum strategies and highly engaging learning techniques translates well in the development of materials, publications, training, and marketing for the organization and its global network. April’s expertise includes pedagogy and strategies for critical and creative thinking and providing quality educational services for students and adults worldwide.

Prior to joining Future Problem Solving, April taught elementary and middle grades, spending most of her classroom career in Gifted Education. She earned the National Board Certification (NBPTS) as a Middle Childhood/Generalist and later served as a National Board Assessor for the certification of others. She was trained and applied the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) in Humanities, which helped widen the educational scope and boundaries beyond the U.S. In addition, April facilitated the Theory and Development of Creativity course for state level certification of teachers. She has also collaborated on a variety of special projects through the Department of Education.

A graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s in Elementary Education and the University of South Florida with a master’s in Gifted Education, April’s passion is providing a challenging curriculum for 21st century students so they are equipped with the problem solving and ethical leadership skills they need to thrive in the future. As a board member in her local Rotary Club, she facilitates problem solving in leadership at the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA). She is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute and earned her certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Edyth Bush Institute at Rollins College.