Expository Essay Activities & Games

Instructor: Rachel Tustin

Dr. Rachel Tustin has a PhD in Education focusing on Educational Technology, a Masters in English, and a BS in Marine Science. She has taught in K-12 for more than 15 years, and higher education for ten years.

Teaching students to write a great expository essay involves mastery of several skills. However, with a little ingenuity, you can provide students with fun practice activities and games to help them hone their skills and build a strong expository essay.

Organizing Expository Essays

Students often think of an expository essay as a report of sorts. However, an expository essay is more than that. In this type of essay, students can compare and contrast ideas, analyze for cause and effect, and even use multiple sources of evidence to develop a definition for an idea or concept. If we want to teach students how to avoid the 'book report' version of an expository essay, we need to use activities to teach them how to effectively collect and organize information.


  • Template research cards for each student. The template card should include space for source information (title, author, publication date, type of publication) and notes/questions.
  • additional blank index cards for students to use as research cards
  • list of appropriate topics if needed


  1. Begin by helping students select a topic for their essay. You may assign topic(s), or help students select a topic depending on your broader goals in the expository essay.
  2. Have students spend time over several days of class conducting research and completing their research cards. You can set an appropriate number of cards for your students' topic and the depth you want them to achieve in their expository essay.

research card

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