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Creative and Critical Thinking

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Together We Stand Letter Outline

Suppose you live in a new suburban community that combines all the amenities and benefits of a tight-knit small community with the benefits of living close to the big city. Some years pass, and several children and adults in the community start developing extensive and similar illnesses. You think this is clearly not a case of genetics, and you become suspicious that something has gone wrong in the development planning and execution of your community. You start researching possible causes for the illnesses plaguing the community and, upon further investigation, find out that a company’s unsafe chemical-disposal practices may be to blame for the calamity. You decide to notify your community of your findings so that everyone can unite in a fight for justice.

Create a detailed outline that you would use for composing the letter, which you intend to have published by your local newspaper, addressing your concerns about the community’s health. Address the following in your outline:

• Describe the types of questions that you asked yourself to ensure that you used critical thinking in your research and analysis of the problem.
• Explain what strategies you would have applied, if actually investigating the problem, to help foster critical thinking and to help lead you to the root cause of the illnesses.
• What assumptions did you have to be aware of to ensure that they did not interfere with your critical analysis of the situation?
• What fallacies did you encounter as you researched possible causes for the illness?

Cite any sources and references consistent with Associate Level Writing Style Handbook guidelines.
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My question is how can I form this into an outline when there is not specific illness stated? This assignment has to deal with being critical and taking criticism. I am not sure how to form the outline especially with having to answer these questions. It would be simple if I could just form my own outline as if I am actually writing the paper. The last questions is not even a part of the chapter so I do not know how to begin to answer that question and I have to explain 2 examples. I just need to be pointed in the right direction and I take it from there. Any suggestions would be great. Thank you.

  • Creative and Critical Thinking -

    I agree. The nature and symptoms of these illnesses should be included in your assignment. Please ask your teacher for more information.

  • Creative and Critical Thinking -

    The goal of this assignment, it seems, is to put yourself in the shoes of the person writing the letter. No specific illness is technically required to form this letter. The purpose of the letter is to educate the community on a health crisis that has arisen and attempt to pull them all together to fight against the cause of the crisis in such a way that you remain objective.

    Critical thinking is reasonable, reflective thinking that is aimed at deciding what to believe or what to do. So you would ask yourself questions that address the problem, but avoid how you feel such as "Q: What is the problem? A: People in the community have become ill and it appears to not be from a genetic origin as the people who live there aren't all related." This is a good example of a question/answer that takes advantage of critical thinking.

    As for fallacies, a fallacy is a flaw in logic. For example, if I claim that a company's waste products are the cause of an illness because the company's president is a drug dealer then I have committed a fallacy. My claim may have been true, but the evidence I provided was incorrect and not even related to the claim. So, the goal of the last question is for you to analyze the logic you use as you answer the other questions and determine if you were tempted to use any fallacies in logic.

    Have any other questions? Just ask.

  • Creative and Critical Thinking -

    My objection to this assignment is that the students are supposed to publish a letter about something they know nothing about.

    The first step in such an investigation would be to correlate specific illnesses or symptoms with the unsafe disposal practices. Just saying -- we're sick it must be THEIR fault is irresponsible and doesn't show critical thinking.

  • Creative and Critical Thinking -

    I agree to a certain extent. I also think there is a lot more information than the illness left out, but I also assume that the question is answerable. It is, by realizing you don't need specific detail from the information. By using the answer I did above I can continue by asking: Q) "If genetics didn't make them sick, what did?" A) "I believe that the company that moved to our community and may be using unsafe waste practices is to blame. I have done a lot of digging into the situation (stated in the set-up) and have determined this is the most likely cause."

    That answer is perfectly valid and within the context of the what was given and what was asked. It can be done, it just shouldn't be over thought.

    Also, I do believe it is a terrible test of critical thinking and creativity.

  • Creative and Critical Thinking -

    Thank you Ms. Sue and Anonymous for your feedback. I think that is why I am having trouble getting started on this because I am not actually writing the letter. I am being asked to create a detailed outline of what I would say if I was to write this letter to the newspaper. I have had some students ask our instructor questions pertaining to this assignment and he has not offered any insight except that we are to make the outline, not write the paper. I am just at a lost on how to start this outline. I do see that other students posted a similar assignment, but they had to write the actual paper which does not help me. I would like to see a sample outline that can help me get started with my own ideas.

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