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How does the Community Projects (CmPS) IC competition work?


Competitors submit a proposal, report, and promotional video to FPSOnline prior to attending the International Conference. During the world finals, community project participants participate in an interview, create a tabletop display, and submit their portfolio to evaluators. Students present their projects to the Future Problem Solving community at the Community Project Showcase.

International Conference Awards
The award ceremony recognizes up to 1st – 5th place project teams in each division and up to 1st – 3rd place individuals in each division. Following the conclusion of the ceremony, scoresheets are available in FPSOnline.

Helpful Links

Example: Community Projects interview questions

9 Community Projects interview tips based on evaluator feedback

8 Community Projects display tips do’s and don’ts

Competition Rules

When competitors register for the event, they are required to complete the International Conference Publication Release and Competitor Rules Contract, which indicates a violation of any rules may result in disqualification. Submission of student work during a Future Problem Solving competition indicates that competitors will adhere to all the following:

1. Student Participation

Only students registered for the International Conference may participate in International Conference activities (including the interview and showcase). All of the registered team members participate in creating the tabletop display. Students may not receive help from coaches, parents, or chaperones when constructing or adjusting the display.

2. FPSOnline

The project proposal, written report, and promotional video must be uploaded to FPSOnline at the same time during a specific time window, usually in late April to early May.

3. Translation

All work submitted must be provided in English. Any need for interview translations must be noted during IC registration. All evaluations will be completed in English.

4. Eligibility

Late or incorrectly formatted/submitted entries will be evaluated but may not be eligible for awards.

5. Project Requirements

All specific requirements for each submitted item must be adhered to including word count, page limit, and display dimensions. Specific requirements about each product are detailed below.

6. Good Judgment

Students should use good judgment and remember that all submitted work should be appropriate for all audiences.

Watch Out
Students are encouraged to think creatively and futuristically. Taking conceptual risks is part of the creative thinking process, but these risks may not pay off or may push the boundaries too far. All participants should consider the impact of their work and words on others, accounting for the diversity of age, ethnicity, religion, culture, and experience that make up the Future Problem Solving community.


Be sure to meet all competition submission due dates for each project component. The 2024 International Conference deadlines are listed below.

ProposalFPSOnlineMust be submitted by Thursday, May 2, 8:00 PM (EDT).
ReportFPSOnlineMust be submitted by Thursday, May 2, 8:00 PM (EDT).
PortfolioEmailed and On-siteElectronic portfolios must be emailed as a compressed PDF to by Monday, June 3, noon (EDT). 

Physical Portfolios must be left with the project display during project set-up on Thursday, June 6.
Promotional VideoFPSOnlineMust be submitted by Thursday, May 2, 8:00 PM (EDT).
DisplayOn-siteProject set-up is Thursday, June 6, 12:30-4:30 PM as assigned at check-in.
InterviewOn-siteInterview time slots are planned for Thursday, June 6, 7-9:00 PM and Friday, June 7, 8:00 AM – 3:30 PM (EDT). Project teams receive their interview time at check-in.


Student submissions must follow official rules and competitive guidelines. At International Conference projects are scored out of a total possible 530 points.

Proposal (~38% of score)
The project report must be submitted in FPSOnline as both a Word document and a PDF by the deadline. Before you upload, make sure your report is written in legible 12-point font (not script) and does not exceed 2,000 words. The project proposal must be submitted in FPSOnline by the deadline at the same time as the report and portfolio, usually in early May. 

The Proposal should NOT be rewritten from what was submitted at the affiliate level.
Report (~38% of score)
The project report must be submitted in FPSOnline as both a Word document and a PDF by the deadline at the same time as the proposal and portfolio, usually in early May. Before you upload, make sure your report is written in legible 12-point font (not script) and does not exceed 3,500 words. Reports should begin with the underlying problem, which may be the original from the project proposal or a revised underlying problem, if applicable.
Portfolio (~5.5% of score)
Electronic project portfolios are emailed as a compressed PDF by the deadline, usually a few days before the event. Physical project portfolios must be left with the project display during project set-up on Thursday.

Electronic portfolios must be accessible offline. Portfolios must not exceed 20 double-sided or 40 single-sided pages/slides. Pages/slides must be a standard size paper (Letter or A4) and NOT include animations or videos.

We encourage teams to include an additional page (front and back) at the beginning of the portfolio to share “updates” since the proposal and report submission for IC competition. Be sure to include the underlying problem (original from the proposal and revised version, if applicable).
Promotional Video (~5.5% of score)
The promotional video must be submitted by the deadline as an unlisted YouTube video link in FPSOnline. Participants in countries that are blocked from YouTube must contact us to make alternate arrangements. The promotional video must be no more than three minutes in length.
Display (~5.5% of score)
The goal of the display is to describe the project to the audience, capturing their attention and sharing the project’s goals and accomplishments. Attendees at our world finals will get a chance to see all of the project displays on Friday night, at our Community Projects showcase.

Teams set up their tabletop project displays on Thursday at the International Conference during their assigned time. Displays will be evaluated and scored without students present before the Community Projects showcase. A project display should feel complete without the need for student explanation or commentary.

Future Problem Solving will provide one standard trifold display board for each project. The display board, typically 36”H X 48” W (1.2 m x 91.4 cm), must be used. Students may add items to their display beyond the provided display board. We encourage creativity enhancing, adapting, and modifying the provided display board.

Future Problem Solving will provide one table for each project. Only tabletop displays are permitted. No freestanding or under-table items. The height of the display must not exceed 50 inches (127 cm) from the tabletop. Projects are allowed to use an undecorated tablecloth/table skirt.

Display items must remain with the project from the end of set-up on Thursday afternoon, until display removal on Saturday afternoon. Valuable, fragile, or otherwise unnecessary props should not be included. Electronic devices are not prohibited; however, projects must provide their own power source. Future Problem Solving is not responsible for any items left unattended as part of a display.

Once the set-up timeframe has ended, no items may be added or removed from the display. Physical portfolios must be left with the display. Display removal is the responsibility of the participants on Saturday afternoon. Additional items used for crowd engagement during the showcase should not be left at the display during set-up. Participants can bring their additional items to the showcase.
Interview (~7.5% of score)
The interview provides evaluators with an increased understanding of a project while allowing students to share their passion for their project. This is not a prepared presentation, but a conversation between students and evaluators. 

All interviews will address the step in the problem-solving process that was most important to the project. Evaluators will prepare questions from the student work. For more information, see the sample list of possible questions.

Team project interviews will last up to 30 minutes.
Individual project interviews will last up to 15 minutes.

Interview time slots are typically planned for Thursday evening and Friday. Coaches receive assigned interview times with their IC check-in materials. 

Reminder: Projects must note any needs for translation during IC registration.


Evaluators use the official Community Projects Problem Solving Evaluation Guidelines to assess all International Conference submissions. They apply rubrics (with expectations) for corresponding point ranges. Evaluations are based on the problem-solving process, creative thinking, community engagement, and effective communication.

Each project receives two evaluations. Each evaluator uses total points to determine the project’s rank. Points and ranks from evaluations are used to create a composite score (values are assigned to a set range of points and ranks). These scores will be used to determine project placement.

While there are guidelines and descriptions of expectations, Future Problem Solving evaluation is based on subjective scoring. Because there is no single “right” answer, varying interpretations of student work are possible. It is the decision of each evaluator to determine the points that will be awarded for each section of a scoresheet. For more information and a sample scoresheet, see the how evaluated article.

Attachment – Community Project Competition Requirements (PDF)

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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.