Future Prize for Middle School

How might we empower students to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges?

Students increasingly need to be creative, curious, empathetic, and resilient in our rapidly changing world. Future Prize introduces middle school students (grades 6 to 8) to a methodology and a mindset using innovative problem-solving methods that foster critical thinking and compassion. 

Co-hosted by CIS Ontario and the Future Design School, this opportunity package includes the Future Prize Challenge – a one-day inter-school event – a design thinking workshop where students and teachers work together in an action-packed day of creating technology-based solutions to pressing real-world problems, in addition to developing an exciting final “pitch” to a panel of expert judges.

Preparation for the Future Prize culminating event involves a professional development opportunity for educators to learn the ins and outs of design-thinking methodology. Then, each educator returns to school and forms a “mini-club” quartet with three students. After a month of researching an issue and conducting interviews with real potential users of an app-based solution, all mini-clubs congregate for the culminating Future Prize Challenge day.

Student teams (3 students and one teacher per team) will

  • Learn about challenges in their local community.
  • Build empathy for people impacted by those challenges.
  • Develop creative ideas to solve the problem.
  • Create a prototype of their solution.
  • Pitch their idea to a panel of judges. 
  • Foster their creativity, pursue their curiosity and feel empowered to reshape the world around them.

Teachers will: 

  • Receive hands-on professional development on how to apply design thinking tools and methods to enhance student learning - teachers learn by doing while participating on a team with students!
  • Gain access to curriculum resources to support students through the process.
  • Access curated content from around the world about education challenges 
  • Take students on a field trip that meets Ontario and MYP curriculum expectations.
  • Develop skills in creating hands-on, project-based, personalized learning experiences.

Future Prize Challenge 2024

Join us for the Future Prize Challenge for Middle School on Friday, February 9, 2024 from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at Upper Canada College.

Register your school TeAM for Future Prize 2024

Future Prize Faculty Prep Days 2024

The 2024 Future Prize Faculty Prep Days occur on 

  • January 17, 2024, from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., in-person, hosted by Bayview Glen, and 
  • online via Zoom on January 24, 2024, from 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Future Prize Challenge 2023

Future Prize Challenge Day 2023 was held on March 3rd at Upper Canada College with 26 teams of middle school students from 14 CIS Ontario schools in attendance. It was a day filled with curiousity, problem-solving, teamwork, creative thinking & innovative solutions. The event included a design thinking workshop for students and teachers, an action-packed day of creating solutions, and an exciting final “pitch” to a panel of expert judges. Congratulations to the Havergal College student team that won the trophy this year.

Learn about the Future Prize Challenge Day, watch the video below:

Future Design School – The Future of Education Report

What does the Future of Education hold? The Future of Education Report from Future Design School uncovers the defining opportunities shaping K-12 education.

Access your free digital copy here.

First page of the PDF file: FutureofEducationReport2023-24Digital
CIS Ontario Future Prize
Future Design School
CIS Ontario Future Prize 2023


Sandra Nagy
Director of Learning
Future Design School

Leslie McBeth
Director of Professional Development
Future Design School

For additional information, please contact:

Jeremy Barr
Event Manager

Empowering students to solve big, world problems may sound like an overwhelming task. The Future Prize Challenge equips educators and students alike, with a powerful method of collaboration intended to do just that.

CIS Ontario Future Prize for Middle School