Informative Essay Topics for Middle School

Instructor: David Raudenbush
Informational writing should be a cornerstone of a middle school writing curriculum. Students need to know how to research and write on a variety of topics. These prompts offer some suggestions for informational writing.

Writing to Inform

There's a lot to be learned in middle school, which means there is a lot for students to write about. Informational writing needs to be present in every middle school English language arts class. Even the Common Core State Standards call for students to ''write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.''

writing

The focus of information writing is always the reporting of facts. It should never stray into the writer's opinion. Students can write informational essays a number of ways. They can answer essay questions on tests about subjects like the causes of the Civil War. They can write essays based on personal experience such as explaining the character traits they look for in a hero. Finally, they can write informational pieces that require gathering facts through research. For example, students might write about the benefits of a vegan diet.

Test essay questions will depend on the subject, of course. Between math, social studies and science the possibilities are too large to number. However, there are plenty of personal and research-based topics to consider.

Personal Topics

Personal topics are those that the student can write about extemporaneously, without heading to a computer or their cell phone to do additional research. Many middle school teachers use journals in their class. These topics work as journal entries or as formal essays. Many of these topics deal with education because students easily relate to being in school.

School Topics

  • Compare and contrast this year of middle school with last year.
  • Explain the advantages of knowing how to read.
  • Explain the role education has made in the life of one of your family members.
  • What are some alternatives teachers can use to replace traditional homework assignments?
  • What have you seen or learned in school recently that has changed the way you think about the world?
  • Suggest several ways students can work together to improve the school spirit in your school.
  • What did you learn from this year's science fair?
  • Describe ways students can use cell phones productively in the classroom.

General Interest

  • Identify three popular vacation choices for middle schoolers and describe each one.
  • What is your first, or earliest, memory? Describe what you recall.
  • Explain the steps you go through to fix your hair in the morning.
  • Describe the plot of your favorite novel or movie.
  • Some hobbies are just diversions. Others can lead to something else. Explain about a hobby you have that could someday lead to a career.
  • Explain three ways you can help take care of the environment.
  • How would you describe a game or sport that you like to play to someone who has not seen it before?
  • Who is your role model in life? Describe the characteristics that make that person a role model.
  • It has been said that some people are born leaders and other have leadership thrust upon them. Describe the qualities that make a person an effective leader.
  • Explain how to make a meal that is native to your cultural heritage.
  • Explain how to perform a card or magic trick.
  • Describe the steps in dividing fractions.

Research-based Topics

Most students won't be able to write on these topics off the top of their head. These require some research. You might want to add some lessons about citing sources when you use these in class.

Historical

  • In what ways has America lived up to Dr. Martin Luther King's dream? In what ways does the country still need to grow?
  • Which of the Founding Fathers had the greatest impact on life in America today?
  • Discuss the challenges faced by people who lived through the Great Depression.
  • What has been the most important news story in the last 25 years? 50 years? 100 years?
  • In the 1960s, America sent astronauts to the moon. Explain the impact of that achievement on American society.
  • Which president of the last twenty had the greatest impact on the lives and culture of the American people?

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