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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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Using Pronouns to Build Coherence

time-3098699_640Instead of repeating a noun in a paragraph, use pronouns to refer back to the person, place, or thing you are talking about.
Some examples of pronouns are I, you, he, she, they, we, it, this, that, these, and those.
Because pronouns refer back to their noun, they are often used to create coherence and flow in a paragraph.
  • “The students are trying to understand the concept of relativity. It is not an easy theory.”
  • “The company has developed a new marketing strategy. They will introduce the idea next week at the conference.”
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Simple Past & Present Perfect

When do we use the simple past, and when do we use the present perfect?

Simple Past

We use the simple past to talk about things that happened in the past and were completed in a time period that is finished.


  • Tom bought a new computer yesterday.
  • Jan wrote her essay last week.
  • They passed the TOEFL test last month.
  • I went to New York last year.
  • She turned in her assignment two day ago.

Notice the time expressions refer to a period of time that is completed in the past.

Present Perfect

We use the present perfect when we talk about things that were completed in the past, but the time period is not yet finished.  Such as this week, this month, this year, my life. We may not use a time expression when using the present perfect because the stress is on the completed action as it relates to the present and not on the time.


  • Tom has bought a new computer, so he can compete his assignment.
  • Jan has written her essay, so she doesn’t have to study tonight.
  • They have passed the TOEFL test, so they can begin university courses.
  • I have been to New York several times, so I know the city pretty well.
  • Because she has turned in her assignment, she doesn’t have to come to class today.

Present Perfect / Present Perfect Progressive

We may also use the present perfect or the present perfect progressive to talk about things that were started in the past but are not yet finished. In this case, we usually use for (a length of time) or since (a point in time).


  • I have lived in New York for three years. OR I have been living in New York since I came to America.
  • Akiko has studied English for one year.  OR She has been studying English for one year.
  • He has been traveling for three days.  OR He has traveled since Monday.
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Example of a Counter-Argument


The counter-argument states clearly what the opposition believes.

Some people believe that technology is the way of the future and that it is impossible to become overly dependent on its use.


A strategy often used in the rebuttal is to agree where you can agree, and then state clearly your objection and the reason why your position is correct.

It is true that in modern society technology has infiltrated into almost every fiber of our lives, and that it has enabled people to reach beyond their limits.  However, to say that it is impossible to become overly dependent on its use, is to forget how vulnerable society can be.


After you have stated your position, give plausible reasons to support it.

If we allow ourselves to become carelessly dependent on technology, we are in danger of neglecting to develop the necessary skills to survive when technology is not available.  As a result, in an emergency society would not be prepared to survive.

See Problem-Solution Essay and Argumentative Essay

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Using Commas

Tips on using commas

When writing compound sentences, use a comma before the coordinating conjunction.

  • John went to the bank, and he went to the post office.
  • It was raining hard, but he stayed dry.

When writing complex sentences, use a comma when the subordinating clause is first.

  • Although the test was canceled, John still studied at the library.
  • Because the textbooks did not come, the test was canceled.

When the main clause is first, do not use a comma.

  • John still studied at the library although the test was canceled.
  • The test was canceled because the textbooks did not come.
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Using the Internet for Research

1140x420internetProbably one of the most popular sources for information today is the Internet. If we type in a few key words, we have instant access to almost anything on a given topic. But as accessible as it is we need to use it wisely as we research for information.

When determining whether a web site is reliable, there are four questions we need to ask.

  1. What is the purpose of the site?  Some sites are for-profit and their intent is to convince the viewer to buy their product.  Other sites offer a service and their intent is to inform the viewer to make the best decisions.
  2. Is the content relevant and clearly written? Content should be well organized and clearly written.  It should be relatively free from spelling and grammar errors.  It also should be up-to-date and accurate.
  3. Who are the writers of the website?  Writers should be qualified to write on the subjects they are presenting.  You should be able to access information about the writers and determine what their education and experience is in their field.
  4. Is the content biased, or is it objective? Some writers purposely slate their articles to persuade readers to their point of view. There is a place for persuasive writing, but generally speaking, academic writers should present their findings as objectively as they can allowing readers to form their own conclusions.

Just a word about Wikipedia.  Wikipedia is an open source for information on just about any subject. It is easy to access and many students use Wikipedia for their projects.  However, there is a downside.  The way the program is set up anyone can edit and add to almost any page.  Because of this there is no way to check the accuracy or reliability of the information. If you choose to use Wikipedias, make sure to compare the information to reliable sources.