Expository Essay Prompts For 8th Grade

A well written expository essay focuses on facts. These expository writing prompts will give you a topic or subject to explain, describe, inform, or define. They are free to use under a Creative Commons License.

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  1. Write a description of your hometown for someone who has never been there. Include history, important landmarks, etc.
  2. Write about the history and landmarks of a city you want to visit.
  3. Write a short biography of your favorite celebrity.
  4. Write instructions on how to care for a pet.
  5. Write about the history of your favorite toy or game.
  6. Write about the rules of your favorite sport or game.
  7. Write instructions on how to prepare a meal you enjoy.
  8. Write about the traditions surrounding your favorite holiday and where they came from.
  9. Write an objective summary of a television show or movie you dislike.
  10. Compare and contrast one job or class with another job or class.
  11. Describe the view from your window as factually as possible.
  12. Write out instructions for how to ride a bicycle.
  13. Compare and contrast your house with a friend's house.
  14. Make something simple out of building toys or craft supplies, then write instructions on how to make it.
  15. Write a detailed description of the first object on your left.
  16. Write a short biography of a family member.
  17. Write instructions on how to use a phone, camera, or another device you use frequently.
  18. Write about your family history.
  19. Write detailed instructions on how to use an everyday object like scissors or a spoon as though you were explaining it to someone who had never seen the object before.
  20. Compare and contrast your city with another city you have visited.
  21. Write about the type of tree you see most in your area.
  22. Pick a month. Write about the type of weather your hometown generally has in that month.
  23. Compare and contrast two different places you would like to visit.
  24. Write about your birthstone.
  25. Write instructions on how to get dressed.
  26. Write about a historical figure that shares your birthday.
  27. Compare and contrast two different breeds of the same animal, like cats, dogs, or horses.
  28. Compare and contrast your clothes with someone else's.
  29. Write a summary of your favorite book.
  30. Write a detailed description of your work area.
  31. Compare and contrast two different types of hats.
  32. Compare and contrast the book version of a work with the movie version.
  33. Write about an older version of a current type of technology. For example: old telephones, letters or telegrams rather than e-mail, a slide rule or abacus rather than a calculator.
  34. Compare and contrast two types of fruit.
  35. Compare and contrast two objects that are the same color.
  36. Write instructions on how to clean your room.
  37. Compare and contrast the first book in a series with the last.
  38. Compare and contrast a remade movie with its original version.
  39. Write instructions on the best way to pack a backpack or suitcase.
  40. Write about a custom that your region has that other areas of the world do not.
  41. Compare and contrast the way people in your area say a certain phrase to the way it is said in other areas- for example, people in different areas in the U.S. call soda different names; what the U.S. calls fries the U.K. calls chips.
  42. Write instructions for a basic safety procedure.
  43. Compare and contrast the governments of two countries that are on the same continent.
  44. Explain how to write an expository essay.
  45. Compare and contrast an expository and a persuasive essay.
  46. Compare and contrast two sources of information on the same subject; for example, a print encyclopedia entry and a Wikipedia entry, or a newspaper article and journal article.
  47. Write instructions on how to respond to a bully.
  48. Interview someone and write about their job.
  49. Compare and contrast two ancient mythologies (Greek/Roman, Egyptian, Norse, etc.)
  50. Write instructions on how to take care of a plant.
  51. Compare and contrast your typical breakfast with a friend's.
  52. Write about your favorite style of music- history, influential musicians, etc.
  53. Compare and contrast one style of music with another.
  54. Pick a fictional work that has at least one male and at least one female character. Compare and contrast their actions/role in the story.
  55. Write about how your school works or worked.
  56. Explain how to do a very simple cooking task, like boiling an egg or tossing a salad.
  57. Write directions on how to do laundry.
  58. Write instructions on how to replace batteries.
  59. Write about how to keep a car or bike in good condition.
  60. Write about the types of animals that live in your climate.
  61. Write about the types of animals that live in a climate very different from yours.
  62. Write instructions on how to take care of glasses.
  63. Write instructions on how to take care of someone who is sick.
  64. Write about the symptoms of a specific illness.
  65. Compare and contrast a man's shoe and a woman's shoe.
  66. Write about ways to cheer someone up.
  67. Explain how to play a video game.
  68. Write about the history of a food item, like peanut butter or soda.
  69. Compare and contrast tea and coffee.
  70. Write about an allergy or dietary restriction someone you know has.
  71. Write about how to tell when someone is upset.
  72. Write about ways to keep from getting scared.
  73. Write about how to dress for a certain type of weather.
  74. Write instructions on how to take care of a scrape or cut.
  75. Write about ways to tell someone you care about them.
  76. If you know two languages, compare and contrast them.
  77. Look in the mirror and describe yourself as though you were describing a stranger.
  78. Write about a 'behind the scenes' job- stagehand, cameraman, animator, etc.
  79. Write about how to plan an outfit.
  80. Compare and contrast a food with a substitute for someone who is allergic- for example, milk and soy milk.
  81. Write instructions on how to find and identify a constellation.
  82. Write instructions on how to play a musical instrument.
  83. Compare and contrast two types of cars.
  84. Write about how to introduce yourself to someone.
  85. Write about ways to stay warm when it's cold or cold when it's warm.
  86. Write instructions on how to find information for a report.
  87. Write about ways to remember something.
  88. Compare and contrast two different parks or playgrounds.
  89. Compare and contrast two different types of rock.
  90. Write instructions on how to solve a math problem.
  91. Compare and contrast a baby and an adult of the same species.
  92. Write instructions on how to break a bad habit.
  93. Write a guide to good manners.
  94. Write instructions on what to do if you get lost.
  95. Write directions from one place in your town to another.
  96. Compare and contrast two different types of fish or bird.
  97. Write about what you should put in a first aid kit.
  98. Write about what you should bring with you when you go camping.
  99. Write instructions on how to fish.
  100. Write about how to look for a job.

The ability to provide information in different contexts is essential to effective communication. Students must practice expository writing throughout their academic careers. The sooner they start, the better. Below are some descriptive, sequential, compare and contrast, cause and effect, and problem/solution writing prompts to help you give your students the practice they need.

Descriptive

  1. Write an essay describing your school to a potentially new student.
  2. Write an essay describing the appeal of reality TV shows.
  3. Write an essay describing a rainy night.
  4. Write an essay describing your first pet.
  5. Write an essay describing your first memory.
  6. It’s Christmas morning and there is a package under the tree containing exactly what you requested. Describe the contents of your package..
  7. Write an essay describing how you feel when you wake up and discover snow on the ground outside — and school has been cancelled.

Sequential

  1. Writing an essay explaining the process you use to style your hair in the morning.
  2. You have invited your two best friends to spend the afternoon at your home. Write an essay telling how your prepare for their visit.
  3. Everyone has lost something at one time or another. Write an essay telling what you did to find what you had lost.
  4. Describe how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
  5. Tell how you wash your hair.
  6. Describe the plot of your favorite book.

Compare and Contrast

  1. Write an essay comparing and contrasting ownership of cats and dogs.
  2. Compare and contrast this year in school to last year.
  3. Compare and contrast your two favorite characters.
  4. Compare and contrast your family’s home and the home of your dreams.
  5. Compare and contrast a typical day in your life today and what you think a typical day in your life will be like when you are 25.
  6. Compare and contrast your two favorite teachers.

Cause and Effect

  1. Write an essay telling how peer pressure has affected you this year.
  2. Write an essay explaining what causes students to drop out of high school.
  3. Discuss the causes and effects of bullying in schools.
  4. Discuss the causes and effects of poverty in rural (urban) areas.
  5. Discuss the causes and effects of drug or alcohol use on families.

Problem/Solution

  1. Most students do not read or watch news, resulting in a lack of knowledge about the world outside of their immediate neighborhood. Write an essay describing why this is a problem and telling how this problem might be solved.
  2. Think about the community in which you live. What could you do to make it a better place? Choose one problem that needs to be solved to make your community a better place to live. Write a letter to the editor describing how solving this problem would make your community a better place, and tell what you would do. Give reasons why you think your plan would work.
  3. Think about what you could do to make your school more beautiful. Think about how you would do this. How could you persuade the people in your school that your idea is a good one? Write a letter to the principal of your school asking for support for your plan for making your school more beautiful. Tell what you would do and how you would do it. Explain why you think your plan is important and why it would work.
  4. Think about animal abuse. Some people abuse animals by being intentionally cruel to them or neglecting their basic needs; others abuse animals out of ignorance. Think about what could be done to prevent both kinds of animal abuse. Write a letter to leaders in your community describing how you would solve this problem, and how treating animals better would improve the lives of animals and people. Explain why you think your plan will work.

I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma graduate student, and a NBPTS candidate. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify my students’ voices and choices.

Filed Under: PedagogyTagged With: expository writing prompts

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