Home-schoolers fare well as Future Problem Solvers


The 2020 version of the Future Problem Solving International Competition was a virtual one for the first time in the program’s 46-year history.

Instead of taking place in Amherst, Mass., area students took part in the competition from Wayland.

Several local home-schooled students qualified for the international event based on their written work at the statewide Future Problem Solving competition held in Ames right before schools closed due to the coronavirus in March.

Instead of meeting in-person to prepare to compete on the topic of terraforming, students completed eight weeks of online assignments, including writing their own futuristic stories about terraforming a planet or moon.

Since coronavirus restrictions lessened after the first of June, the students were able to meet in-person to complete the two-hour written competition and participate in the oral presentations on June 5. 

Eichelberger Farms in Wayland allowed the Future Problem Solving students to use its large meeting room as the competition site.

Results of all competitions were released last week, and several local students placed among the best in the world.

The junior division (grades 4-6) team of Ciaran Bentler, Moriah Haveman, Noelle Schnoebelen and Will Seele placed 10th out of the best 59 teams in the world.

In the middle division (grades 7-9), the team of Maggie Greer, Matt Schaeckenbach, Lewis Sutton and Brady Diercks earned the honor of placing third internationally, outperforming 66 teams from 25 states, plus teams from New Zealand, Singapore, China, Thailand, Australia and Turkey.

Anna Ramsey, participating in the senior division (grades 10-12) problem-solving competition for individuals, also placed third internationally.


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