I had them answer the question, "Are Fast Food Restaurants Responsible for Making You Fat?" I had them choose a position, whether they agreed or disagreed, and had them explain why based on their experiences and what they have learned. I also had them gather 5 comments or reactions from other students based on what they have written.
I found that many of my students had great difficulty with this assignment. They are 7th graders. Many of them were not used to writing about what they thought or write an opinion. I realize now that I will need to give them more assignments to build critical thinking skills in the future.