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60 Excellent Argumentative Essay Topics for Middle School

argumentative essay topics for middle school

July 8, 2022 //  by  Brittany Ray

One thing I have learned as a teacher is that middle schoolers are excellent at arguing and debating. However, as educators, we must do our best to ensure that students at this age learn to debate with respect and be able to convey their opinions with strength and organization.

1. Should cell phones be allowed at school?

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Explain why students should/should not be allowed access to their phones in class or at school.

2. Should exotic animals be kept in captivity?

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In real life, many exotic animals live longer in captivity. However, many argue that this is not a way of a good life for the animal.

3. Should there be harsher punishments for a person bullying? 

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Bullying has resulted in an uptick in youth suicides over the last decade. Among these hot topics is the issue of punishment: is it enough?

4. Do you feel that specific anti-discrimination laws are a detriment rather than a help to our society?

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In 2022, it is no secret that many laws will allow certain benefits to those of different races, sexual orientations, nationalities, religions, etc. Do you feel that these laws have benefited our country as a whole? Or have they made things unfair to those who do not fall into those specialized categories?

5. Explain why or why not: Should students have homework on weekends?

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Take a moment to determine whether or not weekend homework helps kids learn more or if it is a detriment.

6. Do you feel the government should dictate what you get for school lunch?

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Tired of those whole wheat buns and low-fat chocolate milk? Share your voice about whether or not you feel the government should decide what you get for lunch.

7. Should cigarettes be made illegal entirely?

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Because significant amounts of evidence explain the dangers of smoking, do you feel these should be made illegal? Or, do you think doing this would be overstepping personal rights boundaries and lead to making other things illegal?

8. Should gym class (physical education) be a requirement?

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Explain why gym class should or should not be a requirement throughout your school career.

9. Should the drinking age be lowered to 18?

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This long-standing argument on the age for drinking has waffled between these two concepts: if you're old enough to die for your country, then you're old enough to have a beer, and the human brain isn't developed enough. What do you think?

10. Do you think that the government should do more to fight against human trafficking?

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Create an excellent argument explaining whether or not the government is doing a good job or not in fighting against human trafficking.

11. Do you think there should be automatic screen time limits for children?

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Answer the above question and create a strong claim stating your opinion. You must back it up with evidence that supports your claim.

12. Explain whether or not animal testing should be outlawed.

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Animal testing is used on anything from the medication people use daily to lipstick and body washes. Explain whether or not you think animal testing should be outlawed or made more strict.

13. Do you feel like there should be a death penalty?

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Many people argue that the death penalty is inhumane. However, others that have lost a loved one to a violent crime may feel differently. What do you think?

14. Do you feel illegal immigrants should be granted all the same rights (and more) than nationalized citizens?

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Always a fight in national elections is this concept of illegal immigrants being granted many benefits that ultimately cost the American people money. Explain your stance on this debate and how these granted rights benefit or harm the U.S.

15. Explain why America is or is not ready for a female president.

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Now that we have the first female vice president, do you feel that the United States is ready for a female president?

16. Explain your stance as to whether schools should or should not have school uniforms.

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Explain your stance on whether or not uniforms neutralize the environment and prevent bullying, or whether they limit personal expression.

17. Should violent video games be banned in the United States?

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Are violent video games bad? Do they promote violence? Or are they just a pastime with which kids play and have fun?

18. Is milk terrible or suitable for you? 

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While many would never know this is a controversial issue, it is. The United States has had long-standing business deals with dairy farmers. In turn, promoting the consumption of dairy products in the United States. However, recent science has challenged whether or not the use of dairy products is good for you. What do you think?

19. Are hot dogs that bad for you? 

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4th of July and hot dogs are an American tradition, but is it worth the bad stuff?

20. Is going to online college the same as attending college at a university?

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Some argue that online college isn't the same. What do you think?

21. Explain whether or not the electoral college should be eliminated.

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Many argue that the electoral college is no longer relevant because of the population burst. Others provide an argument that it keeps things fair in largely populated states.

22. Should someone be able to keep wild animals as pets if they have the means to care for them?

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Explain how unregulated care of wild animals as pets could be a detriment. Or, explain your stance on how this can be a benefit.

23. Should the school day be extended for a long weekend?

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A more extended weekend does mean a longer school day. Explain the benefits and detriments of this particular argument.

24. Should the government have more say in what is or is not "fake news"?

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With social media being used by the vast majority of people in the world and is owned primarily by one person, the issue has come up as to whether or not the government should have a hand in making the news on social media fair.

25. Do you feel art courses should be required pre-requisites for any college degree?

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A math major, why wonder why they need to take art history. On the flip, others say it provides different world perspectives. What do you think?

26. Do you agree or disagree that parents should be responsible for childhood obesity?

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The argument here is that our parents are responsible for their child's obesity in the same way they are required to be responsible for all other aspects of their child's life?

27. Explain whether you agree or disagree with allowing patients to have physician assisted-suicide in the case of terminal illness?

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This topic has long been the source of many moral concerns. To argue that this is "playing God" why others believe it is the patient's right to die with dignity.

28. Explain your stance on whether wind farms are a good or bad idea.

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Are these useful, or are they a waste of money? You decide.

29. Should college admission criteria be less stringent?

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Getting into college is difficult for those who don't have the best grades. Should this be an issue?

30. Do you believe brick-and-mortar schools are still necessary for today's post-pandemic society?

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During Covid, we all were at home and learned from home. Explain whether or not actual school buildings are needed.

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Who doesn't love a cute puppy? Should every campus have its pet?

32. Is the student per class limit too high?

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Do some research to determine if a lower teacher-to-student ratio benefits learning.

33. What are the most influential cons of sports athletes in the college industry being paid to play?

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Recently, legislation has passed allowing college athletes to be paid for their service. Do you think this has made things fair or not?

34. Should a felon have their right to vote revoked?

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Some states allow felons to vote while others do not. What do you think is fair?

35. Do you believe kids should get an allowance?

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Explain your stance on what is fair.

36. Do you believe the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) is doing a good job regulating what gets put in our foods?

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37. What do you believe is the appropriate age to begin using social media (i.e., Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.)?

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Some say six, some say never. Explain your stance and what ages are appropriate for social media use.

38. Do you think it is necessary for 12th-grade students to have to take a civics exam before graduation?

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The argument here is that students attending public school should have to know the same things people becoming citizens of our country need to know. What do you think?

39. Should elite athletes be allowed to use performance-enhancing drugs?

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If these were allowed, would the "playing field" be leveled? Or should these drugs continue to be illegal?

40. Do you believe that a college education is necessary for everyone?

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Explain if you think everyone needs college or if it is ok to go different routes?

41. Have the Native Americans had justice from having their land taken?

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Many believe the Native Americans have not had proper retribution for the brutality experienced many years ago. What does? What do you think?

42. Do you think the act of cloning DNA presents a moral issue?

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Here we have another issue of morality and the argument of scientists "playing God," while others argue that this kind of science can lead to excellent medical benefits.

43. Should the government have more strict gun control policies?

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The questions arising in the media are whether or not the issues with gun violence are a state of mental health, access to firearms, or the gun itself.

44. At what point should children begin doing chores?

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45. The moral stain of the slavery of African American people in early American History is undoubtedly present. Do you feel the government promotes hate or love with the straight talk of racism?

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Many argue that our government is promoting racism through its ongoing talk of inequities, while others argue that racism is not as prevalent as it once was.

46. Should employers have the right to require a Covid-19 vaccine?

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Some argue that this violates personal rights, while others argue it is for the greater good.

47. Do you think electronic voting machines make the election procedure fair or unfair?

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Some say these voting machines allow for more significant errors, while others say paper does. What do you think?

48. Do you believe politicians should be allowed to be "lifetimers"?

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Should certain people be in control of our government for decades? Or should there be more strict limits?

49. Is climate change something we can truly make a difference with? Or is it much bigger and stronger than us?

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Please explain how this tremendous task of preventing climate change is something that we can do or is it something that we cannot control no matter what.

50. Should the voting age be lowered?

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Many high schoolers believe by 16, they should be allowed to vote. What do you think?

51. If protecting the environment is of utmost importance, should bottled water be banned?

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Bottled water produces mass amounts of waste each year. Conversely, these companies generate millions of dollars that boost the economy. Which is more important?

52. Should the FDA allow GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) in our food?

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Some argue this helps farms, and others say it threatens our health. What do you think?

53. Is daylight saving something the U.S. should keep, or should it be abolished?

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Many argue that this law is outdated and we don't need it anymore. Please do some research and tell me what you think.

54. Should excellent grades guarantee a scholarship?

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Many students graduate high school with a 4.0 GPA and no scholarships. Is this fair?

55. With the separation of church and state, should churches continue to be exempt from paying taxes?

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56. Should school have better security?

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In light of the violence in public schools, should the government pony up the cash to give schools better security?

57. Should the minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour?

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The argument here is whether or not the person making your french fries at McDonald's should receive $15 an hour when someone with a college education teaching in their first year could make close to the same salary. What do you think?

58. Has artificial intelligence gone too far?

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Is it weird that your phone listens to everything you say? Explain whether or not artificial intelligence is a benefit or a detriment.

59. Should public education at the college level be tuition-free?

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If K-12 is free, then why do public universities cost so much?

60. Should the government dictate which books should be allowed in the classroom?

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Hitler, at one point, got rid of any books that would provide a different viewpoint than he wanted his people to have. Do governments (local or national) have a right to dictate the books we read?

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Writing an Argumentative Essay | Middle School Guide to Writing

Writing an Argumentative Essay

An argument, who hasn’t been in one? We argue on the school playground, argue with a best friend, argue whose best friend is better. We’ve all either been in an argument or tried our hardest to avoid one, but what happens when you have to write about one? Did anyone groan at that question?

Have no fear! This article is here with quick and effective tips that will help you write a great argumentative essay, no matter what you’re arguing.  It can also help in improved writing skills .

Tip #1: Pick a side, any side

It can’t be an argumentative essay if you don’t know what you’re arguing for or against. The simplest way to start an argument is to know what side you’re arguing for and to stick to the side until the very end. Sometimes the simplest statements of “I think. . .” or “I believe. . .” are a great way to start thinking about what side of the argument you’re on.

Here are some questions: Should schools push back their start time? Should healthy lunch meals be served to every student? Do you like the color black or blue?

Tip # 2: But Why?

Because I felt like it! If only that could be a valid reason for everything you have to explain (it’s not). But it’s not that complicated either. You picked a side of the argument, but you have to have reasons explaining why that side. The magic number to remember here is three . Any good argument needs to have at least three reasons that support your claim, and you get them by asking why .

Remember, your argument is only as strong as your reasons. The sentence that has the chosen argument and three reasons to support the argument is what we call a thesis statement. That is if you want to sound all fancy and impress everyone around you!

Tip # 3: Find A Partner

A key to any good argument is finding good, strong evidence. In other words, find people who know what they are talking about, have been published properly, and now have come to your rescue. It’s an important element in your argumentative essay to have evidence that supports what you’re arguing for. The support could come in many forms: quotes, expert opinions, graphs, charts, or any form of data.

For instance, if you argue that school should serve healthy lunch for reason a, b, and c, then you need to find people that will support those reasons. The magic number here is two . Two pieces of strong evidence to support each reason. (When did an argumentative essay become a test in knowing how to add?)

Tip #4: Know Your Opponents

It’s just as important to know the other side of the argument as well as knowing yours. Wait. . . Why?!

You must address the other side of the argument in your essay, so that you can counterargue it.  The whole mission of the argumentative essay is to make a strong case for your side, and nothing makes a stronger argument than knowing what the other side is thinking. It’s called being prepared with the counterclaim, and having a strong rebuttal to prove your argument is stronger. This takes more good research.

The key here is to be prepared to defend your side till the very end. And yes, all this work is happening through writing. Let’s not forget that while playing mind chess!

Tip # 5: Take A Bow

Here’s the grand finale, time to put it all together. You’ve done all the hard work of thinking of good reasons to support your argumentative essay and then of finding strong evidence to support those reasons. Now is not the time to confuse your readers! Simply leave them with a thought about your side of the argument. Keep it short, neat, and clean!

These are the five basic rules to keep in your back pocket when writing an argumentative essay. Learning these steps will assist throughout entire acedemic life, including the abitlity to successful write research papers .  Remember, writing is a process, so always be open to feedback and revisions. Happy writing!

Article provided by VSA Future ; offering virtual classes for your child.

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A Step-by-Step Plan for Teaching Argumentative Writing

February 7, 2016

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For seven years, I was a writing teacher.  Yes, I was certified to teach the full spectrum of English language arts—literature, grammar and usage, speech, drama, and so on—but my absolute favorite, the thing I loved doing the most, was teaching students how to write.

Most of the material on this site is directed at all teachers. I look for and put together resources that would appeal to any teacher who teaches any subject. That practice will continue for as long as I keep this up. But over the next year or so, I plan to also share more of what I know about teaching students to write. Although I know many of the people who visit here are not strictly English language arts teachers, my hope is that these posts will provide tons of value to those who are, and to those who teach all subjects, including writing.

So let’s begin with argumentative writing, or persuasive writing, as many of us used to call it. This overview will be most helpful to those who are new to teaching writing, or teachers who have not gotten good results with the approach you have taken up to now. I don’t claim to have the definitive answer on how to do this, but the method I share here worked pretty well for me, and it might do the same for you. If you are an experienced English language arts teacher, you probably already have a system for teaching this skill that you like. Then again, I’m always interested in how other people do the things I can already do; maybe you’re curious like that, too.

Before I start, I should note that what I describe in this post is a fairly formulaic style of essay writing. It’s not exactly the 5-paragraph essay, but it definitely builds on that model. I strongly believe students should be shown how to move past those kinds of structures into a style of writing that’s more natural and fitting to the task and audience, but I also think they should start with something that’s pretty clearly organized.

So here’s how I teach argumentative essay writing.

Step 1: Watch How It’s Done

One of the most effective ways to improve student writing is to show them mentor texts, examples of excellent writing within the genre students are about to attempt themselves. Ideally, this writing would come from real publications and not be fabricated by me in order to embody the form I’m looking for. Although most experts on writing instruction employ some kind of mentor text study, the person I learned it from best was Katie Wood Ray in her book Study Driven (links to the book: Bookshop.org | Amazon ).

Since I want the writing to be high quality and the subject matter to be high interest, I might choose pieces like Jessica Lahey’s Students Who Lose Recess Are the Ones Who Need it Most  and David Bulley’s School Suspensions Don’t Work .

I would have students read these texts, compare them, and find places where the authors used evidence to back up their assertions. I would ask students which author they feel did the best job of influencing the reader, and what suggestions they would make to improve the writing. I would also ask them to notice things like stories, facts and statistics, and other things the authors use to develop their ideas. Later, as students work on their own pieces, I would likely return to these pieces to show students how to execute certain writing moves.

Step 2: Informal Argument, Freestyle

Although many students might need more practice in writing an effective argument, many of them are excellent at arguing in person. To help them make this connection, I would have them do some informal debate on easy, high-interest topics. An activity like This or That (one of the classroom icebreakers I talked about last year) would be perfect here: I read a statement like “Women have the same opportunities in life as men.” Students who agree with the statement move to one side of the room, and those who disagree move to the other side. Then they take turns explaining why they are standing in that position. This ultimately looks a little bit like a debate, as students from either side tend to defend their position to those on the other side.

Every class of students I have ever had, from middle school to college, has loved loved LOVED this activity. It’s so simple, it gets them out of their seats, and for a unit on argument, it’s an easy way to get them thinking about how the art of argument is something they practice all the time.

Step 3: Informal Argument, Not so Freestyle

Once students have argued without the support of any kind of research or text, I would set up a second debate; this time with more structure and more time to research ahead of time. I would pose a different question, supply students with a few articles that would provide ammunition for either side, then give them time to read the articles and find the evidence they need.

Next, we’d have a Philosophical Chairs debate (learn about this in my  discussion strategies post), which is very similar to “This or That,” except students use textual evidence to back up their points, and there are a few more rules. Here they are still doing verbal argument, but the experience should make them more likely to appreciate the value of evidence when trying to persuade.

Before leaving this step, I would have students transfer their thoughts from the discussion they just had into something that looks like the opening paragraph of a written argument: A statement of their point of view, plus three reasons to support that point of view. This lays the groundwork for what’s to come.

Step 4: Introduction of the Performance Assessment

Next I would show students their major assignment, the performance assessment that they will work on for the next few weeks. What does this look like? It’s generally a written prompt that describes the task, plus the rubric I will use to score their final product.

Anytime I give students a major writing assignment, I let them see these documents very early on. In my experience, I’ve found that students appreciate having a clear picture of what’s expected of them when beginning a writing assignment. At this time, I also show them a model of a piece of writing that meets the requirements of the assignment. Unlike the mentor texts we read on day 1, this sample would be something teacher-created (or an excellent student model from a previous year) to fit the parameters of the assignment.

Step 5: Building the Base

Before letting students loose to start working on their essays, I make sure they have a solid plan for writing. I would devote at least one more class period to having students consider their topic for the essay, drafting a thesis statement, and planning the main points of their essay in a graphic organizer.

I would also begin writing my own essay on a different topic. This has been my number one strategy for teaching students how to become better writers. Using a document camera or overhead projector, I start from scratch, thinking out loud and scribbling down my thoughts as they come. When students see how messy the process can be, it becomes less intimidating for them. They begin to understand how to take the thoughts that are stirring around in your head and turn them into something that makes sense in writing.

For some students, this early stage might take a few more days, and that’s fine: I would rather spend more time getting it right at the pre-writing stage than have a student go off willy-nilly, draft a full essay, then realize they need to start over. Meanwhile, students who have their plans in order will be allowed to move on to the next step.

Step 6: Writer’s Workshop

The next seven to ten days would be spent in writer’s workshop, where I would start class with a mini-lesson about a particular aspect of craft. I would show them how to choose credible, relevant evidence, how to skillfully weave evidence into an argument, how to consider the needs of an audience, and how to correctly cite sources. Once each mini-lesson was done, I would then give students the rest of the period to work independently on their writing. During this time, I would move around the room, helping students solve problems and offering feedback on whatever part of the piece they are working on. I would encourage students to share their work with peers and give feedback at all stages of the writing process.

If I wanted to make the unit even more student-centered, I would provide the mini-lessons in written or video format and let students work through them at their own pace, without me teaching them. (To learn more about this approach, read this post on self-paced learning ).

As students begin to complete their essays, the mini-lessons would focus more on matters of style and usage. I almost never bother talking about spelling, punctuation, grammar, or usage until students have a draft that’s pretty close to done. Only then do we start fixing the smaller mistakes.

Step 7: Final Assessment

Finally, the finished essays are handed in for a grade. At this point, I’m pretty familiar with each student’s writing and have given them verbal (and sometimes written) feedback throughout the unit; that’s why I make the writer’s workshop phase last so long. I don’t really want students handing in work until they are pretty sure they’ve met the requirements to the best of their ability. I also don’t necessarily see “final copies” as final; if a student hands in an essay that’s still really lacking in some key areas, I will arrange to have that student revise it and resubmit for a higher grade.

So that’s it. If you haven’t had a lot of success teaching students to write persuasively, and if the approach outlined here is different from what you’ve been doing, give it a try. And let’s keep talking: Use the comments section below to share your techniques or ask questions about the most effective ways to teach argumentative writing.

Want this unit ready-made?

If you’re a writing teacher in grades 7-12 and you’d like a classroom-ready unit like the one described above, including mini-lessons, sample essays, and a library of high-interest online articles to use for gathering evidence, take a look at my Argumentative Writing unit. Just click on the image below and you’ll be taken to a page where you can read more and see a detailed preview of what’s included.

What to Read Next

argumentative essay writing for middle school

Categories: Instruction , Podcast

Tags: English language arts , Grades 6-8 , Grades 9-12 , teaching strategies

57 Comments

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This is useful information. In teaching persuasive speaking/writing I have found Monroe’s Motivated sequence very useful and productive. It is a classic model that immediately gives a solid structure for students.

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Thanks for the recommendation, Bill. I will have to look into that! Here’s a link to more information on Monroe’s Motivated sequence, for anyone who wants to learn more: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/MonroeMotivatedSequence.htm

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What other sites do you recommend for teacher use on providing effective organizational structure in argumentative writing? As a K-12 Curriculum Director, I find that when teachers connect with and understand the organizational structure, they are more effective in their teaching/delivery.

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Hey Jessica, in addition to the steps outlined here, you might want to check out Jenn’s post on graphic organizers . Graphic organizers are a great tool that you can use in any phase of a lesson. Using them as a prewrite can help students visualize the argument and organize their thoughts. There’s a link in that post to the Graphic Organizer Multi-Pack that Jenn has for sale on her Teachers Pay Teachers site, which includes two versions of a graphic organizer you can use specifically for argument organization. Otherwise, if there’s something else you had in mind, let us know and we can help you out. Thanks!

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Dear Jennifer Gonzalez,

You are generous with your gift of lighting the path… I hardly ever write (never before) , but I must today… THANK YOU… THANK YOU….THANK YOU… mostly for reading your great teachings… So your valuable teachings will even be easy to benefit all the smart people facing challenge of having to deal with adhd…

I am not a teacher… but forever a student…someone who studied English as 2nd language, with a science degree & adhd…

You truly are making a difference in our World…

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Thanks so much, Rita! I know Jenn will appreciate this — I’ll be sure to share with her!

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Love it! Its simple and very fruitful . I can feel how dedicated you are! Thanks alot Jen

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Great examples of resources that students would find interesting. I enjoyed reading your article. I’ve bookmarked it for future reference. Thanks!

You’re welcome, Sheryl!

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Students need to be writing all the time about a broad range of topics, but I love the focus here on argumentative writing because if you choose the model writing texts correctly, you can really get the kids engaged in the process and in how they can use this writing in real-world situations!

I agree, Laura. I think an occasional tight focus on one genre can help them grow leaps and bounds in the skills specific to that type of writing. Later, in less structured situations, they can then call on those skills when that kind of thinking is required.

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This is really helpful! I used it today and put the recess article in a Google Doc and had the kids identify anecdotal, statistic, and ‘other’ types of evidence by highlighting them in three different colors. It worked well! Tomorrow we’ll discuss which of the different types of evidence are most convincing and why.

Love that, Shanna! Thanks for sharing that extra layer.

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Greetings Ms. Gonzales. I was wondering if you had any ideas to help students develop the cons/against side of their argument within their writing? Please advise. Thanks.

Hi Michael,

Considering audience and counterarguments are an important part of the argumentative writing process. In the Argumentative Writing unit Jenn includes specific mini-lessons that teach kids how, when and where to include opposing views in their writing. In the meantime, here’s a video that might also be helpful.

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Hi, Thank you very much for sharing your ideas. I want to share also the ideas in the article ‘Already Experts: Showing Students How Much They Know about Writing and Reading Arguments’ by Angela Petit and Edna Soto…they explain a really nice activity to introduce argumentative writing. I have applied it many times and my students not only love it but also display a very clear pattern as the results in the activity are quite similar every time. I hope you like it.

Lorena Perez

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I’d like to thank you you for this excellence resource. It’s a wonderful addition to the informative content that Jennifer has shared.

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What do you use for a prize?

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I looked at the unit, and it looks and sounds great. The description says there are 4 topics. Can you tell me the topics before I purchase? We start argument in 5th grade, and I want to make sure the topics are different from those they’ve done the last 5 years before purchasing. Thanks!

Hi Carrie! If you go to the product page on TPT and open up the preview, you’ll see the four topics on the 4th page in more detail, but here they are: Social Networking in School (should social media sites be blocked in school?), Cell Phones in Class, Junk Food in School, and Single-Sex Education (i.e., genders separated). Does that help?

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I teach 6th grade English in a single gendered (all-girls) class. We just finished an argument piece but I will definitely cycle back your ideas when we revisit argumentation. Thanks for the fabulous resources!

Glad to hear it, Madelyn!

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I’m not a writing teacher and honestly haven’t been taught on how to teach writing. I’m a history teacher. I read this and found it helpful but have questions. First I noticed that amount of time dedicated to the task in terms of days. My questions are how long is a class period? I have my students for about 45 minutes. I also saw you mentioned in the part about self-paced learning that mini-lessons could be written or video format. I love these ideas. Any thoughts on how to do this with almost no technology in the room and low readers to non-readers? I’m trying to figure out how to balance teaching a content class while also teaching the common core skills. Thank you for any consideration to my questions.

Hey Jones, To me, a class period is anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour; definitely varies from school to school. As for the question about doing self-paced with very little tech? I think binders with written mini-lessons could work well, as well as a single computer station or tablet hooked up to a class set of videos. Obviously you’d need to be more diligent about rotating students in and out of these stations, but it’s an option at least. You might also give students access to the videos through computers in other locations at school (like the library) and give them passes to watch. The thing about self-paced learning, as you may have seen in the self-paced post , is that if students need extra teacher support (as you might find with low readers or non-readers), they would spend more one-on-one time with the teacher, while the higher-level students would be permitted to move more quickly on their own. Does that help?

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My primary goal for next semester is to increase academic discussion and make connections from discussion to writing, so I love how you launch this unit with lessons like Philosophical Chairs. I am curious, however, what is the benefit of the informal argument before the not-so-informal argument? My students often struggle to listen to one another, so I’m wondering if I should start with the more formal, structured version. Or, am I overthinking the management? Thanks so much for input.

Yikes! So sorry your question slipped through, and we’re just now getting to this, Sarah. The main advantage of having kids first engage in informal debate is that it helps them get into an argumentative mindset and begin to appreciate the value of using research to support their claims. If you’ve purchased the unit, you can read more about this in the Overview.

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My 6th graders are progressing through their argumentative essay. I’m providing mini lessons along the way that target where most students are in their essay. Your suggestions will be used. I’ve chosen to keep most writing in class and was happy to read that you scheduled a lot of class time for the writing. Students need to feel comfortable knowing that writing is a craft and needs to evolve over time. I think more will get done in class and it is especially important for the struggling writers to have peers and the teacher around while they write. Something that I had students do that they liked was to have them sit in like-topic groups to create a shared document where they curated information that MIGHT be helpful along the way. By the end of the essay, all will use a fantastic add-on called GradeProof which helps to eliminate most of the basic and silly errors that 6th graders make.

Debbi! I LOVE the idea of a shared, curated collection of resources! That is absolutely fantastic! Are you using a Google Doc for this? Other curation tools you might consider are Padlet and Elink .

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thanks v much for all this information

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Love this! What do you take as grades in the meantime? Throughout this 2 week stretch?

Ideally, you wouldn’t need to take grades at all, waiting until the final paper is done to give one grade. If your school requires more frequent grades, you could assign small point values for getting the incremental steps done: So in Step 3 (when students have to write a paragraph stating their point of view) you could take points for that. During the writer’s workshop phase, you might give points for completion of a rough draft and participation points for peer review (ideally, they’d get some kind of feedback on the quality of feedback they give to one another). Another option would be to just give a small, holistic grade for each week based on the overall integrity of their work–are they staying on task? Making small improvements to their writing each day? Taking advantage of the resources? If students are working diligently through the process, that should be enough. But again, the assessment (grades) should really come from that final written product, and if everyone is doing what they’re supposed to be doing during the workshop phase, most students should have pretty good scores on that final product. Does that help?

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Awesome Step 2! Teaching mostly teenagers in Northern Australia I find students’ verbal arguments are much more finely honed than their written work.

To assist with “building the base” I’ve always found sentence starters an essential entry point for struggling students. We have started using the ‘PEARL’ method for analytical and persuasive writing.

If it helps here a free scaffold for the method:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/FREE-Paragraph-Scaffold-PEEL-to-PEARL-3370676

Thanks again,

Thank you for sharing this additional resource! It’s excellent!

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I’ve been scouring the interwebs looking for some real advice on how I can help my struggling 9th grader write better. I can write. Since it comes naturally for me, I have a hard time breaking it down into such tiny steps that he can begin to feel less overwhelmed. I LOVE the pre-writing ideas here. My son is a fabulous arguer. I need to help him use those powers for the good of his writing skills. Do you have a suggestion on what I else I can be using for my homeschooled son? Or what you may have that could work well for home use?

Hi Melinda,

You might be interested in taking a look at Jenn’s Argumentative Writing unit which she mentions at the end of the post . Hope this helps!

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Mam it would be good if you could post some steps of different writing and some samples as well so it can be useful for the students.

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Hi Aalia! My name is Holly, and I work as a Customer Experience Manager for Cult of Pedagogy. It just so happens that in the near future, Jenn is going to release a narrative writing unit, so keep an eye out for that! As far as samples, the argumentative writing unit has example essays included, and I’m sure the narrative unit will as well. But, to find the examples, you have to purchase the unit from Teachers Pay Teachers.

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I just want to say that this helped me tremendously in teaching argument to 8th Graders this past school year, which is a huge concept on their state testing in April. I felt like they were very prepared, and they really enjoyed the verbal part of it, too! I have already implemented these methods into my unit plan for argument for my 11th grade class this year. Thank you so much for posting all of these things! : )

-Josee` Vaughn

I’m so glad to hear it, Josee!!

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Love your blog! It is one of the best ones.

I am petrified of writing. I am teaching grade 8 in September and would love some suggestions as I start planning for the year. Thanks!

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This is genius! I can’t wait to get started tomorrow teaching argument. It’s always something that I have struggled with, and I’ve been teaching for 18 years. I have a class of 31 students, mostly boys, several with IEPs. The self-paced mini-lessons will help tremendously.

So glad you liked it, Britney!

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My students will begin the journey into persuasion and argument next week and your post cemented much of my thinking around how to facilitate the journey towards effective, enthusiastic argumentative writing.

I use your rubrics often to outline task expectations for my students and the feedback from them is how useful breaking every task into steps can be as they are learning new concepts.

Additionally, we made the leap into blogging as a grade at https://mrsdsroadrunners.edublogs.org/2019/01/04/your-future/ It feels much like trying to learn to change a tire while the car is speeding down the highway. Reading your posts over the past years was a factor in embracing the authentic audience. Thank You! Trish

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I love reading and listening to your always helpful tips, tricks, and advice! I was wondering if you had any thoughts on creative and engaging ways to have students share their persuasive writing? My 6th students are just finishing up our persuasive writing where we read the book “Oh, Rats” by Albert Marrin and used the information gathered to craft a persuasive piece to either eliminate or protect rats and other than just reading their pieces to one another, I have been trying to think of more creative ways to share. I thought about having a debate but (un)fortunately all my kids are so sweet and are on the same side of the argument – Protect the Rats! Any ideas?

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Hi Kiley! Thanks for the positive feedback! So glad to hear that you are finding value in Cult of Pedagogy! Here are a few suggestions that you may be interested in trying with your students:

-A gallery walk: Students could do this virtually if their writing is stored online or hard copies of their writing. Here are some different ways that you could use gallery walks: Enliven Class Discussions With Gallery Walks

-Students could give each other feedback using a tech tool like Flipgrid . You could assign students to small groups or give them accountability partners. In Flipgrid, you could have students sharing back and forth about their writing and their opinions.

I hope this helps!

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I love the idea of mentor texts for all of these reading and writing concepts. I saw a great one on Twitter with one text and it demonstrated 5-6 reasons to start a paragraph, all in two pages of a book! Is there a location that would have suggestions/lists of mentor texts for these areas? Paragraphs, sentences, voice, persuasive writing, expository writing, etc. It seems like we could share this info, save each other some work, and curate a great collection of mentor text for English Language Arts teachers. Maybe it already exists?

Hi Maureen,

Here are some great resources that you may find helpful:

Craft Lessons Second Edition: Teaching Writing K-8 Write Like This: Teaching Real-World Writing Through Modeling and Mentor Texts and Mentor Texts, 2nd edition: Teaching Writing Through Children’s Literature, K-6

Thanks so much! I’ll definitely look into these.

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I love the steps for planning an argumentative essay writing. When we return from Christmas break, we will begin starting a unit on argumentative writing. I will definitely use the steps. I especially love Step #2. As a 6th grade teacher, my students love to argue. This would set the stage of what argumentative essay involves. Thanks for sharing.

So glad to hear this, Gwen. Thanks for letting us know!

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Great orientation, dear Jennifer. The step-by-step carefully planned pedagogical perspectives have surely added in the information repository of many.

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Hi Jennifer,

I hope you are well. I apologise for the incorrect spelling in the previous post.

Thank you very much for introducing this effective instruction for teaching argumentative writing. I am the first year PhD student at Newcastle University, UK. My PhD research project aims to investigate teaching argumentative writing to Chinese university students. I am interested in the Argumentative Writing unit you have designed and would like to buy it. I would like to see the preview of this book before deciding to purchase it. I clicked on the image BUT the font of the preview is so small and cannot see the content clearly. I am wondering whether it could be possible for you to email me a detailed preview of what’s included. I would highly appreciate if you could help me with this.

Thank you very much in advance. Looking forward to your reply.

Take care and all the very best, Chang

Hi Chang! Jenn’s Argumentative Writing Unit is actually a teaching unit geared toward grades 7-12 with lessons, activities, etc. If you click here click here to view the actual product, you can click on the green ‘View Preview’ button to see a pretty detailed preview of what’s offered. Once you open the preview, there is the option to zoom in so you can see what the actual pages of the unit are like. I hope this helps!

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Great Content!

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Another teacher showed me one of your posts, and now I’ve read a dozen of them. With teaching students to argue, have you ever used the “What’s going on in this picture?” https://www.nytimes.com/column/learning-whats-going-on-in-this-picture?module=inline I used it last year and thought it was a non-threatening way to introduce learners to using evidence to be persuasive since there was no text.

I used to do something like this to help kids learn how to make inferences. Hadn’t thought of it from a persuasive standpoint. Interesting.

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this is a very interesting topic, thanks!

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Elementary Assessments

Elementary Assessments

61 Great Argumentative Writing Prompts for Middle School

If you’re seeking argumentative writing prompts for middle school students, you’ve landed in the right place.

These interesting argumentative prompts cover a variety of subjects that even your most reluctant writers will find appealing.

What’s more, they enhance writing skills, encourage students to express their opinions with confidence, and deepen learning experiences.

So why not pencil into your writer’s workshop block this week a few of these engaging argumentative writing prompts for middle school students?

Argumentative Writing Prompts for Middle School

Following you will find a variety of argumentative writing prompts for middle school students that can be used for a variety of writing activities.

1. If you were mayor of a new town, how would you convince people to move there?

2. Argue the benefits of teachers not giving homework.

3. Do you think that violent video games are appropriate for middle school students? State and defend your stance.

4. In your opinion, what is the greatest challenge that teenagers face today?

5. Should students be allowed to use cell phones during class time? Why or why not?

6. Do you think grades should be given or just pass/fail? Explain.

7. Is it fair that celebrities make more money than medical doctors? Why or why not?

8. Is social media harmful to young people? Explain.

9. State the importance of protecting Earth from pollution, and explain why everyone should play a part in helping.

10. In what ways can schools do more to prevent or reduce bullying?

11. Should it be mandatory for students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?

12. Are you for or against school uniforms? Defend your position.

13. Should middle school students have a later bedtime than younger students? Explain your thinking.

14. Write an article for the school newspaper arguing the benefits of learning a second language.

15. Explain how technology can actually be detrimental to people’s lives.

16. Why is it necessary for schools to administer standardized tests?

17. How should schools most effectively handle bullying?

18. Explain why it’s essential to eat a healthy diet.

19. Explain the benefits of summer camp.

20. Why do you think some students dislike the cafeteria good? How can this issue be resolved?

21. What are some ways that schools can become better places for all students?

22. Explain why more class time should be given to electives.

23. Why do you think it’s important to set and achieve SMART goals?

24. Explain why eating junk food is bad for one’s mental and physical health.

25. Why should citizens be concerned with endangered animals?

argumentative writing prompts for middle school

26. Discuss ways that teachers can make lessons more accessible to students.

27. State your opinion on whether middle schoolers watch too much television.

28. Describe why it’s important not to always judge someone based on how they look.

29. Share the importance of learning study skills .

30. Should good grades be a requirement to participate in school sports? Explain.

31. Justify people’s concern for animals’ rights.

32. State the benefits of gum chewing in class.

33. Persuade your parents to listen to your favorite music.

34. What time of day do you think school should start and why?

35. In your opinion, which is the better pet: cat or dog?

36. What’s the thrill of watching funny cat videos on YouTube?

37. Write a letter convincing your family to move to the mountains.

38. Draft a letter persuading your 90-year-old grandparent to register for a social media account.

39. Argue for or against the school year being 100 days.

40. What does your pet really think about you and your family?

41. Explain what makes your first, last, or middle name awesome.

42. When is the best time for students to have a cell phone and why?

43. Share your opinion on the appropriate age for staying home alone.

44. Should certain grade levels in middle school have special privileges? Why or why not?

45. Are school uniforms a good idea?

46. Should P.E. classes be divided by gender? Why or why not?

47. What new electives should the school offer, and why?

48. Should more school assignments be group work or independent work? Why?

49. How can the lunch menu be made more appealing to students?

50. Do middle school students need much supervision? Why or why not?

51. How can cyberbullying be reduced?

52. Is online or in-person learning better? Why?

53. Is the sale of fast food on campus a bad influence on middle schoolers? Why or why not?

54. Should participation in a school sport be required? Explain.

55. What are the benefits and disadvantages of students working to earn money?

56. At what age should students begin learning how to drive? Why do you think this?

57. State the pros or cons of having school year-round.

58. What would make homework a better learning experience for students?

59. How should the school handle bullying?

60. Should there be seat belts on school buses? Why or why not?

61. If one participates in sports, should she be allowed to miss P.E class? Why or why not?

Final Thoughts: Argumentative Writing Prompts for Middle School

Now you have a collection of argumentative writing prompts for middle school.

Consider having students review the elements of argumentative writing before sharing these prompts.

Related: writing prompts for middle school

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21 Ways to Encourage Students Not to Talk During Quiet Time

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argumentative essay writing for middle school

Are you a student looking for argumentative essay topics? If so, we have you covered. Below you will find a list of the best argumentative essay topics.

Argumentative Essay Topics (General)

Argumentative Essay Topics About Politics

Argumentative Essay Topics About Society & Culture

Argumentative Essay Topics About History

Argumentative Essay Topics for Kids in Elementary School

Argumentative Essay Topics for Middle School

Argumentative Essay Topics for High School

Argumentative Essay Topics for College

100+ Persuasive Essay Topics

2023 best online doctorate in educational technology.

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33 Argumentative Essay Topics for Middle School

Argumentative Essay Topics for Middle School Students . Bonus! Many of these ideas are also GREAT for students and writers of all ages.

Middle School Argumentative Essay Ideas

Good Grades in Essay Writing this School Year

Argumentative essays tend to require a little more research and logic than their cousin, the persuasive essay—but your middle school students will enjoy the opportunity to argue convincingly to readers all the same.

More importantly, as students research their papers, gather evidence, and form their positions and arguments, they’ll be learning and practicing a number of important writing and critical thinking skills.

The way to good grades for every student is to practice. Yes, some students will have to practice their essay writing skills more than others. It is the exploration and understanding of the essay writing process that lead to good writing.

This is why to support your students, we offer you…

Good Argumentative Essay Topic Ideas (and Free, too!)

With these 33 new argumentative essay topics for middle school students, you can help your students learn more about what makes a good argument and how to evaluate and decipher so-called “evidence.”

As they explore topics like the ways in which schools handle bullying and whether or not the Pledge of Allegiance should be required in schools, they’ll have the chance to see how biased some sources may be—and how those sources can be construed to support a particular side of an argument. 

Whether students choose to argue for or against a given topic, you can be sure they’ll learn plenty about the components of an excellent argument either way.

You can help your writers form a point of view on topics they are interested in by using our ideas for your next homework assignment.

So get to it and…

Use these argumentative essay topics today to teach your middle-schoolers all about the process of delivering well-researched, evidence-based arguments to their peers. I’m sure you’ll be glad you did.

33 Middler Schooler Argumentative Essay Topic Ideas

Middle School Argumentative Essay Writing Ideas

I hope you enjoyed these argumentative essay topics for middle school writers.

Now, in case your students need more ideas, here are…

13 More Argumentative Research Paper Topic Ideas

A few of these topics are deep and may be better suited for more advanced writers. Of course, they may also be reworked and simplified for writers of all skill levels if needed.

Ok, in case more writing prompt ideas are needed. Check out the resources listed below.

174 More Essay Writing Topics

Until next time, keep on writing!

If you enjoyed these Argumentative Essay Topics for Middle Schoolers, please share them on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest. I appreciate it!

Sincerely, Jill journalbuddies.com creator and curator

Argumentative Essay Writing Ideas for Middle School Writers

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Spring Writing Prompts

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