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Creative Thinking Exercise C

Creative Thinking Exercise C

Learning to Think Outside the Box

Directions: Read the passage below, and then answer the questions. This is a NO CELL PHONE activity.

Download: Creative Thinking Exercise C

By Laura Pappanobeb (2014)

1. Once considered the product of genius or divine inspiration, creativity — the ability to spot problems and devise smart solutions — is being recast as a prized and teachable skill. Pin it on pushback against standardized tests and standardized thinking, or on the need for ingenuity in a fluid landscape.

2. “The reality is that to survive in a fast-changing world you need to be creative,” says Gerard J. Puccio, chairman of the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College, which has the nation’s oldest creative studies program, having offered courses in it since 1967.

3. “That is why you are seeing more attention to creativity at universities,” he says. “The marketplace is demanding it.”

4. Critical thinking has long been regarded as the essential skill for success, but it’s not enough, says Dr. Puccio. Creativity moves beyond mere synthesis and evaluation and is, he says, “the higher order skill.” This has not been a sudden development. Nearly 20 years ago “creating” replaced “evaluation” at the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning objectives. In 2010 “creativity” was the factor most crucial for success found in an I.B.M. survey of 1,500 chief executives in 33 industries. These days “creative” is the most used buzzword in LinkedIn profiles two years running.

5. Traditional academic disciplines still matter, but as content knowledge evolves at lightning speed, educators are talking more and more about “process skills,” strategies to reframe challenges, extrapolate and transform information, and to accept and deal with ambiguity.

6. The view of creativity as a practical skill that can be learned and applied in daily life is a 180-degree flip from the thinking that it requires a little magic: Throw yourself into a challenge, step back — pause — wait for brilliance to spout.

7. The point of creative studies, says Roger L. Firestien, a Buffalo State professor and author of several books on creativity, is to learn techniques “to make creativity happen instead of waiting for it to bubble up. A muse doesn’t have to hit you.”

Retrieved from


Answer all questions from the passage using your own words.

  1. According to the passage, what is creativity?
  2. Why are more and more universities focusing on creativity?
  3. In this passage, does the author’s equate critical thinking with creative thinking? Explain.
  4. According to the passage, is creative thinking an inherent ability? Explain.
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Creative Thinking Exercise B

Creative Thinking Exercise B

Directions: Reading the passage below, then answer the questions.

Louis Pasteur

Download: Creative Thinking Exercise B

“Exploration into this mysterious world of germs began around 1850 by a Frenchman by the name of Louis Pasteur (1822-1895). At that time Pasteur, Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Lille, was approached by a man who worked at a factory that produced beer from sugar beets. Much to the businessman’s lament, vats of the fermented beer were turning sour, so the businessman asked Pasteur to find out the cause.

“Pasteur used a microscope to analyze the beer samples and found thousands of microorganisms. His theory was that these microbes or “germs” were not the result of the beer going sour, rather they were the cause. Pasteur went on to study other liquids such as vinegar and milk.

“From his experiments with liquids, Pasteur became convinced that the air contained tiny living organisms unseen by the naked eye. These organisms could cause putrefaction of liquids and could be prevented by killing the germs with heat. Initially his beliefs were ridiculed by the medical community, but he was able to prove his case beyond doubt. Indeed, we are all familiar with the term “pasteurized milk” which was named in Pasteur’s honor.

“Further, in his career Pasteur became convinced that microbes could affect not just liquids, but humans as well. Furthermore, he believed these microbes could spread diseases among humans. . This became known as the “Germ Theory of Disease”. He continued his work by searching for ways humans could be protected from getting diseases.”


  1. According to the passage, what is a synonym for “germs?”
  2. The author uses the word, “putrefaction” in the third paragraph. From the context, what does the word mean?
  3. Why do you think Pasteur’s beliefs were “ridiculed by the medical community?”
  4. Is there any evidence in this passage that would suggest that the “medical community” finally accepted Pasteur’s ideas? Explain.
  5. What was Pasteur convinced of? (Paraphrase)
  1. Paraphrase the last paragraph in this passage.


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Creative Thinking Exercise A


Exercise A

Discovery of Machu Picchu

Download:  Creative Thinking Exercise A

Directions: Read the excerpt from “Machu Picchu’s anniversary, cause for celebration and caution.” Then answer the questions. (

“Why was the discovery of Machu Picchu in 1911 a significant moment in history? It was the first opportunity that our world had to learn about this mysterious Incan royal city located high among the mountains. In the 16th century, Spanish invaders destroyed most of the Incans’ civilization, but never found Machu Picchu during their conquest in Peru. For that, it is highly significant as a relatively intact cultural site, which has helped it garner attention from historians, academics, and tourists across the globe. The discovery not only changed the perception of the world; it also changed the way people thought about the world and increased their understanding of the significance of ancient civilizations. On a more personal note, it has provided incredibly enriching experiences for Northeastern students participating in the Peru Dialogue of Civilizations programs.” (Shemin)


  1. Summarize the main idea of the paragraph in one sentence.
  2. The author says, “Spanish invaders destroyed most of the Incans’ civilization.” Explain why she calls the Spanish “invaders.”
  3. Why does the author say the discovery of Machu Picchu was “highly significant?”
  4. Why do you think this discovery changed the perception and understanding of the world? (Do not use personal pronouns).


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Improving Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension

When learning a second language, it is easy to focus on every word. However, this is not always the best because, if you do, it is hard to comprehend the overall meaning.

Instead of focusing on every word, teach yourself to focus on phrases within a sentence. If you do this, it will improve both your reading fluency and comprehension.

For example, the following sentence has three phrases. The first phrase tells us who does the action (subject). The next phrase tells us what the action is (verb). The last phrase tells us who receives the action (object).

The old man • turned and looked intently • at the three mischievous boys.


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How to improve reading test scores

Often students don’t do well on reading tests for one of two reasons.

First, they believe they already understand how to answer the questions, so they often skip the directions. Without understanding the directions, chances are students will make careless mistakes, like selecting only one answer to a multi-answer question.

Second, students often go straight to the questions without reading the passage.  Then they try to match the words from the questions with the words in the passage.

Both of these shortcuts can cost much in terms of accuracy on a test.

Instead of taking these shortcuts, you might what to follow these four simple steps when taking a Reading Test.

First, scan for main points and major details of the passage, paying close attention to the Thesis Statement, the topic sentences and the conclusion.   These give the reader an understanding of the points the writer is trying to make.

Note: Sometimes main ideas are implied. In this case, read the passage and ask, “What’s the author’s point?” “What’s he/she trying to communicate?”

Second, scan all the questions so you know something of what you are looking for.  Is there a question asking for the main idea, or supporting details?  Or maybe there is a question asking what a particular word means in the passage, or for an explanation of a phrase.

Third, read to understand the passage.  As you read write down important points marking which paragraph they were in.

Forth, begin answering the questions. Remember, your first answer is usually the best.

In this way you will be ready to intelligently interact with the questions.  And in the end it will probably take you less time then just diving in.

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Critical Reading

If your schedule is not so full this summer that you cannot see straight, you might want to take the opportunity to work on some critical reading skills.  Take a reading passage and try dialoging with the author, asking relevant questions in an attempt to understand what the writer is saying, but more important what the writer really means.

Check out Colorado State for more information on how to effectively read for understanding.