8th Grade Argumentative Essay Writing Prompts

Of all the resources we publish on The Learning Network, perhaps it’s our vast collection of writing prompts that is our most widely used resource for teaching and learning with The Times.

This list of 401 prompts (available here in PDF) is now our third iteration of what originally started as 200 prompts for argumentative writing, and it’s intended as a companion resource to help teachers and students participate in our annual Student Editorial Contest. (In 2017, the dates for entering are March 2 to April 4.)

So scroll through the hundreds of prompts below that touch on every aspect of contemporary life — from social media to sports, politics, gender issues and school — and see which ones most inspire you to take a stand. Each question comes from our daily Student Opinion feature, and each provides links to free Times resources for finding more information. And for even more in-depth student discussions on pressing issues like immigration, guns, climate change and race, please visit our fall 2016 Civil Conversation Challenge.

What’s your favorite question on this list? What questions should we ask, but haven’t yet? Tell us in the comments.

And visit our related list as well: 650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing.


Social Media and Smartphones

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8th grade students often get assignments to write persuasive essays. The interesting thing about this task is that you may pick almost any topic if you feel that you can persuade your audience in your thesis. If you have such a task but don’t know what topic to select, you may look at the list of prompts for 8th grade papers below.

  • The role of smartphones in our lives.
  • Raise your arguments for or against the idea that people became too dependent on their smartphones and other mobile devices.

  • Social media.
  • Can you imagine your current life without social media? Take your position and discuss in your persuasive essay whether you think social media has a good or bad influence on the society.

  • Video games and schools.
  • Persuade your readers that particular types of video games can be used in schools to teach students working in a team and develop strategies for achieving their goals.

  • A good TV show.
  • Take a TV show that you really like and raise your arguments to persuade your readers that it’s worthy to be watched by everybody.

  • Real music.
  • Write in your persuasive essay how to distinguish a real musician from a “sellout” and support your opinion with decent arguments.

  • Video games and sports.
  • Raise your arguments to prove that some video games require the player to train on the same level as athletes train to achieve success in sports.

  • Digital books.
  • Persuade your readers that reading a digital book won’t bring you the same experience as reading a real one. You may also take an opposite stance.

  • Supporting artists.
  • Take your position and discuss in your paper whether you think that the government should support young and talented artists or this is just a waste of money.

  • A perfect body.
  • Discuss in your essay whether it’s more difficult for men to achieve a perfect body in comparison to women.

  • A life before the marriage.
  • Many couples break up soon after the marriage. One of the main reasons for this is that they don’t really live together before they marry. Defend or oppose this statement.

    These suggestions should help you come up with your own 8th grade persuasive essay topic. You should keep in mind that this type of writing differs a little bit from argumentative papers. Here, you don’t have to use only real facts to support your arguments. Your personal opinion might be enough if it sounds rather persuasive.

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