Critical Thinking Activity - Writing a Process
People who work in some fields must be very clean to do their work. Read the list of steps involved in entering a cleanroom. It can take a novice 40 minutes to go through the process!
Consider an activity you do regularly.
You will be surprised by the complexity involved and yet how easily you do it.
Describe the steps you go through to do one of these activities:
Eating a banana or orange. Putting on a shoe & tying it. Making a sandwich. Folding a T-Shirt.
Use a word processing document to do this project. Write the steps in order, just like they did on the entering clean room process page.
1. Enter each step of the process without entering a step number. (This will make it easier to set and edit the order later.)
After each new step - tap the Return key. This places each step on a new line in the document.
2. To number the list - Word - Highlight the text. Go Format > Bullets and Numbering.
In the dialog box choose - Numbering. Select the numbering format that is best suited for this project. (You decide)
4. Carefully examine the list.
Is it in order? Are all the steps included?
Critique it by asking - If you gave your list to another person, who followed it exactly as written, would they be successful?
5. To add a new step - Click at the end of the line above where you want to enter the new step. Return. Enter the new step.
To reorder the list - highlight the text of the out of order step and drag it to the correct location.
It both cases - Notice that the steps have been renumbered by the computer. Sweet! If you had numbered the list as you entered it, you would have to renumber each step. UGH!
Extend your thinking:
* Gather data as a class.
Use a spreadsheet to analyze your class's data.
Publish a chart or graph that shows your findings.
Share what you learned with an audience.
* Ask a Pro. How many steps does it take the cafeteria staff to make a sandwich?
Who is more efficient - your class members or the cafeteria staff?
“A computer does not substitute for judgment any more than a pencil substitutes for literacy.
But writing without a pencil is no particular advantage.” Robert S. McNamara
Consider the Power of Possibilities through Andreessen's eyes
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2009 Cindy O'Hora, Updated March 1, 2013
Save a tree - use a Digital Answer Format. Enter your name and the date in a header. Submit the assignment via a class dropbox or an email attachment. Bad things happen. Save a copy of your document in your computer.Proof your responses. It is funny how speling errors and typeos sneak in to the bets work.
Tech Tip: Working in a group or in two different places like the library & home? You do not have to be physically together to work together.
Watch Google Docs video. How could you use free, Google Docs to do an assignment?
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.
Rationale’s interface has been designed to provide a path for critical thinking. From gathering research, to weighing up evidence to formulating a judgement, Rationale will assist you.
Take a look at these 6 critical thinking steps with examples to demonstrate the path to better outcomes.
Step 1: ORGANISE INFORMATION
We have no difficulty in locating information. The key is that the information is selected and structured appropriately. With Rationale’s grouping maps you can drag information from the web onto your workspace via the scratchpad and include colour, hyperlinks and images. The structured, pyramid like maps provide a guide for students to structure the information in such a way that reveals the connections between the main topic and its various themes or categories.
Step 2: STRUCTURE REASONING
Many people provide opinions but rarely provide supporting reasons for their view. Rationale’s reasoning maps encourage people to support their responses and to consider different opinions. It uses colour conventions to display reasoning – green for reasons, red for objections and orange for rebuttals. It also includes indicator or connecting words so that the relationship between statements is clearly understood.
Step 3: CONSIDER EVIDENCE
A test of a solid argument is how good the evidence is that underpins the claims. Rationale’s basis boxes provide a means to identify the basis upon which a statement is given. The icons provide a visual guide as to the range of research utilised and the strength of the evidence that is provided.
Step 4: IDENTIFY ASSUMPTIONS
We often talk about analysing arguments. This can mean a few things including looking at the logical structure of the argument to ensure it is valid or well formed and also identifying assumptions or co premises. For those who require higher levels of analysis, Rationale provides the analysis map format to show the relationships between main premises and co premises.
Step 5: EVALUATE ARGUMENTS
Once arguments for and against an issue have been logically structured, they need to be evaluated. Rationale provides a visual guide for the evaluation of claims and evidence – the stronger the colour, the stronger the argument while icons designate acceptable or rejected claims. While learning this process of evaluating arguments, the colour and icons provide immediate undertanding and communication of the conclusion.
Step 6: COMMUNICATE CONCLUSION
Presenting ideas orally or in writing is crucial and is often the distinguishing feature between good results and average ones. Rationale has essay and letter writing templates to build skills and confidence. Templates provide instruction and generation of prose. When exported, there is a structured essay plan with detailed instructions to assist understanding of clear and systematic prose.