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Critical Thinking Activity & Grading Rubric 100 points
Students will be presented with a relevant community problem and present solutions using an interdisciplinary approach. Students will use methods of at least two academic disciplines to work towards a solution. Students will complete a paper that clearly presents an argument using source material from two disciplines as evidence. You will then informally present your argument to the class through the Canvas discussion forum.
Background: Five years ago, Rolling Hills Landfill received an order from the Office of Environmental Enforcement, on behalf of Escambia County, Florida, to stop receiving debris. The Rolling Hills Construction and Demolition Facility had its permit revoked because of its failures to address cited violations that included “nuisance odors” and a debris mound that rose above the permitted height and could be seen past the property line. Beyond the annoyance and eyesore, residents of the Wedgewood Community in Pensacola, FL, had been calling for closure of the landfill for many years, as they claim it causes the health issues they have seen in the community. However, after five years, the landfill still had not been safely closed by the contractor hired by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Present situation: After community uproar, the FLDEP fired the contractor and hired a new one. The Escambia County Commission also committed funds to conduct monthly tests of waterways near the landfill after high levels of aluminum and iron had been found in the ground water near the site. When residents recently complained that they had not seen any progress on the closure of the site, the FLDEP created a website to update residents on the progress of the closure.
To get more information on this issue, you must look through articles from Pensacola News Journal and visit the FLDEP website devoted to this issue. To access the PNJ, click on “Library Tools” in Canvas and find the newspaper under “P” in our Database A-Z list. Searching for “Rolling Hills” should get you results that you may sort by date.
Your paper should include at least a brief discussion of the current issue to provide context to your argument. You should then choose at least two disciplines and think about how they could be integrated to solve the issue. For the purposes of this paper, you may write as though only the background portion of the community problem has happened. Or, you may pick up the problem from the present if you see that issues are unresolved. In order to understand the situation from multiple perspectives, you will first need to conduct research. A great place to start is to browse news coverage of Rolling Hills Landfill. Then, you will want to move to news coverage and scholarly sources on the broader issues surrounding such sites (e.g., search on topics such as: landfill locations, landfill hazards, environmental activism, environmental discrimination, etc).
Questions you may consider:
These questions are meant to get you brainstorming about your approach and are NOT meant to be answered one-by-one. As you prepare your own solutions, remember to center your argument on evidence and not opinion or emotion (think slow, rather than fast). Therefore, be careful of the sources you use and verify they are professional or scholarly in nature.
Your submission will be judged for its integration of two disciplines, clarity, consistency, relevance, logic, depth, and reasoned argument. Refer to the rubric for guidance in each of these areas. Further, for a list of questions a reader might ask, see the page below from The Critical Thinking Community. http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/a-sample-ass…
The second piece of this assignment includes participation in a discussion forum. Post a brief explanation (around 5 to 8 sentences) of your role, position, and argument in the Critical Thinking discussion forum. Then, read and respond to each of your classmates’ posts. You are encouraged to follow up with their responses to your own post.
Grading Rubric Elements
• at least two disciplines are used to address the community problem
Clarity & Consistency
• issue is well-stated
Coherence, Logic, & Relevance
• definite line of argument is presented
• Argument/proposed solution is well-supported
Grammar and Citations
• correct grammar and spelling used?
• respect for all participants and views is expressed