Seventh graders are learning to create different types of essays, such as persuasive, how-to and comparison/contrast essays, as well as creating essays that effectively address particular topics. A comparison/contrast essay requires the writer to choose two things to compare, discussing ways that they are similar and ways that they are different. Seventh graders can practice this type of essay in all their schools subjects and by writing essays that express personal opinion.
Language Arts Topics
If your seventh graders are reading a novel like "The Red Badge of Courage" by Stephen Crane or "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien, they can create a comparison/contrast essay as a thoughtful way to analyse the text. For "The Red Badge of Courage," they can compare the actions of the main character, Henry, in the beginning of the book with those at the end. They might consider, for example, whether he demonstrates more bravery at the beginning or at the end. For "The Hobbit," students can consider the job assigned to Bilbo by Gandalf, that of a thief, and write an essay defining "a thief" and comparing this to Bilbo's actions in the book. Through comparison and contrast, students will be able to decide if Bilbo is, in fact, "a thief," in "The Hobbit."
Seventh-grade students who are studying biology can create comparison and contrast essays in which they compare how plant and animal cells are alike and different. They can also compare mammals and reptiles or birds and insects, describing ways in which these animals are alike and ways that they are different from each other. Students can also create comparison/contrast essays that demonstrate their understanding of science terms, such as a hypothesis and a theory. Seventh graders studying beginning physics can write essays that compare and contrast the different parts of an atom: protons and electrons or protons and neutrons.
Social Studies Topics
Different periods of history, civilisations and cultures can be put into perspective by seventh graders through creating comparison/contrast essays. Students studying life in medieval Europe or Ancient Egypt can create essays that compare the daily life of these two societies or compare one or the other to our modern American society. They might write an essay that compares only one aspect of each society, such as religion, government or family life. They could also compare and contrast the geographic region of each culture or the typical clothing or housing of each one.
Seventh graders can write comparison/contrast essays that make use of their own personal, daily experiences. They can compare elementary to middle school, playing one sport versus another or life at home and at school. Students can exhibit personal opinion through creating essays that compare two types of fast food, such as hamburgers and tacos, or writing about the differences and similarities between two TV shows or movies.
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