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How does the IC Scenario Writing (SW) competition work?


Competitors get two hours to write a creative scenario of up to 1,000 words. Their creative story should use the provided future scene about the International Conference topic as inspiration. Writers may work directly within FPSOnline or work offline and submit a handwritten scenario on paper. Students are responsible for bringing their own laptop and/or pens or pencils to the competition room. Only writing submissions completed during the official International Conference two hour competition period will be considered.

International Conference Awards
The award ceremony recognizes the 1st – 6th place scenarios for our world finals in each of the three divisions. Following the conclusion of the ceremony, individual score sheets are available in FPSOnline.

Helpful Link

Scenario Writing Competition Information (PDF)

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. Future Scene

The written scenario must fit within the future scene’s parameters of time, place, and topic.
The future scene was developed as a writing prompt to explore the IC Topic.

  • Each scenario should have a title. The title will not count toward the scenario’s 1,000 word maximum.
  • The scenario should contain no identifying information (name, location, etc.).
  • Students will only be evaluated on the first 1,000 words of their scenario.

2. FPSOnline

Students must decide whether to complete their scenario electronically (typed) in FPSOnline or traditionally (handwritten). Students who complete their scenario electronically are responsible for providing their own laptops. Campus wi-fi will be provided. Students may elect to use personal hotspots. No power sources (outlets) will be provided. Students are responsible for ensuring that their electronic devices will have sufficient power for the competition.

3. Outside Resources

Students cannot utilize outside resources. Prohibited items include, but are not limited to; student notes prepared before the competition, research, references, coach/parent advice, and internet searches. Students can bring a paper dictionary and thesaurus to use during the competition.

4. Monitors

Monitors will be present to ensure that students do not use prohibited items and that they adhere to Future Problem Solving rules for the duration of the competition.

5. Competition Rooms

All scenarios must be written in the official competition rooms as assigned.

6. Time Limit

Only two hours are permitted for student work upon receiving the future scene, which is released at the start of the competition time.

7. Making Notes

All competitors will be provided with a paper copy of the future scene and scrap paper
for notes. The future scene, as accessed in FPSOnline, is not editable or downloadable.

8. Supplies

Students must provide their own pens or pencils and/or laptops.

9. Handwritten Scenarios

Students handwriting their scenario will receive a paper copy of the official scenario pages.

  • Students should make sure their writing is legible and dark enough to be read.
  • Event staff will handle the upload process for all handwritten scenarios.

10. Translation

Please note any need for translation during registration so arrangements can be made. All evaluations will be completed in English.

11. No Outside Help

Only the indicated individual may contribute to the work submitted. This includes
editing and revising.

12. Only Official Entries Scored

Only student work entered as the official scenario (paper or electronic) will be scored.

13. 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 scenario 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.


Evaluators use the official Scenario Writing Evaluation Guidelines to assess all International Conference submissions. Future Problem Solving evaluation applies rubrics (with expectations) for corresponding point ranges for a range of criteria:

  • Creative and futuristic thinking
  • Idea and character development
  • Style/voice
  • Mechanics
  • Connection to the topic

Each competitive submission receives multiple evaluations. Each evaluator uses total points to determine the scenario’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). Placement is determined using the composite score:

  • In round one, each scenario receives two evaluations. The top scenarios in each division, based on the composite score, advance to the final round.
  • In the final round, each scenario receives two additional evaluations.
  • The two round one evaluations are processed with the two final round evaluations to determine a final round composite score.

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.


Using FPSOnline

Each student has a unique username and password to access FPSOnline. Sharing this information with other competitors is not allowed.

Chrome, Firefox, and Safari are the recommended browsers for the FPSOnline system. Other browsers have not been tested and may not provide the best user experience. FPSOnline is designed for access via a computer, though successful tests have been made using an iPad. No other devices – tablets or smartphones – have been successfully tested. Use of a non-preferred device is not recommended.

Students may write and revise their scenario in a text document, but only work entered directly in FPSOnline will be scored. Scenarios may not be submitted as an attachment.

The FPSOnline system does not support formatted text. Any pasted tables, bulleted lists, or rich text will not be supported. International Conference staff will be present to monitor the competition. They will not be able to provide technical support. In the event of device failure, the timer will not be stopped. Students will be provided with paper to continue their work.

FPSOnline Practice Session

There will be a Practice Session in FPSOnline, which will open by noon EDT Friday, May 17, and close at 8pm EDT Wednesday, May 22. FPSOnline login information will be sent to coaches no later than Thursday, May 16. Future Problem Solving will not review any work submitted during the practice session. A future scene connected to the topic will be provided.

The goal is to assist students in becoming familiar with the FPSOnline system.

  • Logging in
  • Accessing the future scene
  • Entering text

There are also instructional videos available for using FPSOnline.

There will be two options available during the practice session. Both options will be
available to all students:

  1. Option 1 will have no timer, unlike the official competition window.
  2. Option 2 will mimic the official competition with a two-hour timer.

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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.