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Elementary FPS team recognized by Dist. U-46

By Seth Hancock
  A group of elementary students in School District U-46 defended their state title in the Future Problem Solvers (FPS) competition.
  Mannat Ashta, Yuvan Ganne, Veer Gupta and Risha Lakkadi are fifth graders in the IGNITE gifted program at Streamwood’s Glenbrook Elementary School and were recognized at the Board of Education meeting on Monday, May 18 which was held virtually due to the COVID-19 shutdown. The same group won the juniors division, fourth through sixth graders, state title last year.
  Ellen Smith, a fourth-grade teacher at Glenbrook, coaches the district’s FPS teams.
  “It’s something they work really hard at, and I’m really proud of them,” Smith said. “They put in a lot of hours.”
  Smith said the FPS program begins in August while teams have to write packets in October and December while regionals are in February.
  The state competition, which was held virtually this year, gave competitors poverty as the problem to be solved.
  “It focused on refuges living in poverty in the year 2045, and they needed to come up with 16 problems, choose one as their favorite, 16 solutions for that problem and then write a whole six-paragraph essay,” Smith said adding that usually a skit is performed which was cancelled this year due to the competition being virtual.
  Smith added that the team also became the first juniors team to receive the BUCKY Award, named after inventor Buckminster Fuller.
  “That’s for having very futuristic and unique solutions,” said Smith who stated one of the solutions was a teleportation device “to get the refugees from point a to point b. It would be free for the refugees because transportation is a problem and the cost of that. They had a lot of very unique ones.”
  The team will now compete in June at internationals. That event is normally held in Amherst, Massachusetts but will be virtual this year.
  A group of ninth graders in Bartlett High School’s STEM Magnet Academy also advanced to internationals. That team includes Anant Sheth, Mann Sheth, Arjun Sivasankaran and Danyal Sulemanjee.
  FPS teams range between fourth and 12th graders. Smith said she now coaches nine teams between fourth and ninth grade and the popularity of the program has increased as U-46 teams started reaching internationals, this being the third straight year with qualifying teams.


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