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West sweeps state problem solving bowl
West Middle School swept the Missouri Future Problem Solving State Bowl at Battle High School on Saturday, April 11, with three first-place rankings and a team which is headed to the International Future Problem Solving Bowl this summer. West had four teams qualify for the state bowl out of 16 total qualifying teams. Two of West's teams earned first place rankings in the skit and writing portions respectively. Brody Asbury, Stella Heflin, Katherine Neff, and Michael Zou took first place out of eight teams in their division of the skit portion of the competition, and Keatin Butler, Rachel Edidin, Kaitlyn Hartnagel, and Ben Lewandowski took first place out of seven teams in their division of the skit portion. Brody Asbury, Stella Heflin, Katherine Neff, and Michael Zou took first place out of 15 teams for the writing portion, during which students analyze and address a future scene acting as "systems analysts" to break down the problems in the scene, come up with the overall underlying problem, devise solutions and criteria for the solutions, and then create an action plan for carrying out the best solution as evaluated by the criteria. MFPS teams are given only 120 minutes to complete this entire creative problem solving process. The skits that were performed were an enactment of these action plans.
Students have been preparing for this competition since October in EEE classes at West with their coach and EEE teacher, Heidi Barnhouse. The mission of FPSIPI is, "To develop the ability of young people globally to design and promote positive futures through problem solving using critical and creative thinking." Brody Asbury, Stella Heflin, Katherine Neff, and Michael Zou will go on to the international competition which takes place in Iowa this summer; they will compete against teams from all over the world, such as Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Turkey, the U.K., and the U.S.