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21 Explanatory Essay Topics for Students

Explanatory Essay Topics for Students–The explanatory essay is the perfect starter essay for students who are just entering the middle school grades.

Explanatory Writing Ideas

And now you can…

Use these explanatory essay topic ideas and explanatory topic ideas to help your students begin to hone their writing skills and prepare for more in-depth essays and research papers in the future.


You see…

Essay writing is a fundamental part of any English, grammar, and writing curriculum.


As students enter middle school and begin to prepare to succeed as a high school student during their high school years, they should be introduced to various types of essays. By learning about the different essay styles and practicing their own voice, students will become adept writers who are prepared to take on higher-level assignments in the future.

What is Explanatory Writing?

One of the most common essay types is the explanatory essay. An explanatory essay is a piece of writing that explains a topic in further detail.


A student could write an opinion-based explanatory essay, in which they write about their own opinion about a topic and explain the reasoning behind it. A student also may write an explanatory essay about a current event or a moment in history. Rather than take a position on the topic, the writer should explain it in detail or discuss the events surrounding that particular moment.

If you are going to ask your students to write an explanatory essay in your classroom, then you may want to provide them with an explanatory essay example. This will help them understand the specific writing style that is required to complete an explanatory essay and it will give them a guide that they can use during their own writing process.

21 Writing Topics for Explanatory Essays

  1. Once you learn how to ride a bike, you will never forget how to do it. However, it can be difficult to teach someone else how to ride a bike. Write an essay explaining to your friend how to ride a bike without training wheels.
  2. Do you feel that the school lunch menu is adequate? Write an explanatory essay explaining fact-based reasons as to why or why not you enjoy the school lunch menu.
  3. Write about one rule that you feel each classroom should have. Why do you feel this is the most important rule for students to abide by in your school?
  4. There are many definitions of family. What does family mean to you? Who do you consider to be part of your family?
  5. How did the state that you live in become part of the United States? Explain the details that led to your state’s statehood.
  6. What animal do you feel is the best type of pet? Write an essay giving three reasons why that is the best pet to have in your home.
  7. Write directions for making the best possible peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
  8. What does it mean to be a responsible student? Explain three ways that you and your classmates could assume responsibility at this stage in your lives.
  9. Write an essay describing the events that led to the Cold War.
  10. Write an explanatory essay about a holiday that you are unfamiliar with and that you do not celebrate. Include information about the traditions surrounding this holiday and how people around the world celebrate the day.
    Explanatory Essay Writing Prompts
  11. Explain how to take care of a vegetable garden during the summer months.
  12. Who do you feel is the most influential person in the world right now? Explain why you feel that way.
  13. What is the history of your school? Write about how it was created, when it was established and who it was named after.
  14. Do you feel that social media has had a positive or negative influence on society as a whole? Explain three reasons why you feel this way.
  15. Write about the best way to study for a test in middle school. Give concrete directions that other students would be able to follow.
  16. Do you feel that television advertisements influence you and your peers? Why or why not?
  17. How does plastic use impact the environment? Explain the rise of plastics and describe how it has changed the world around us.
  18. Write an essay explaining how to swing a baseball bat so that you hit a home run.
  19. What is the best classroom job to have? Write an essay explaining why you feel that is the best role to take on in the classroom.
  20. Describe the events that led to the American Revolution.
  21. Write an essay describing how your generation is perceived by others. Be sure to include fact-based reasons as to why you feel your generation is perceived this way.

I hope you enjoyed this list of explanatory essay topics. Now check out this…

Bonus List of Expository Essay Ideas

Mental Health

  • Discuss the impact of social media on mental health.
  • Analyze the role of stigma in preventing people from seeking help for mental health issues.
  • Explore the various treatment options available for mental health disorders.
  • Propose strategies for promoting mental health awareness and education in schools and communities.
  • Investigate the potential of technology to improve mental health care delivery.


  • Examine the root causes of poverty and its consequences for individuals, families, and societies.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of different poverty alleviation programs and policies.
  • Analyze the impact of globalization on poverty levels worldwide.
  • Discuss the role of education and economic empowerment in reducing poverty.
  • Propose innovative solutions to address the challenges of poverty in the 21st century.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

  • Explain the potential benefits and risks of artificial intelligence.
  • Discuss the ethical implications of developing and using AI technologies.
  • Explore the impact of AI on various aspects of society, such as employment, education, and healthcare.
  • Propose ways to ensure that AI is used responsibly and ethically.
  • Investigate the future of AI and its potential impact on humanity.


  • Describe the significance of hobbies in promoting personal well-being and creativity.
  • Discuss the benefits of pursuing hobbies that involve physical activity, social interaction, or intellectual stimulation.
  • Explore the role of hobbies in fostering cultural exchange and understanding.
  • Analyze the economic impact of the hobby industry.
  • Propose ways to encourage participation in hobbies, especially among underserved communities.


  • Discuss the importance of diversity in society and its contributions to innovation and progress.
  • Examine the challenges and barriers faced by marginalized groups in achieving equal opportunities.
  • Analyze the role of education and social activism in promoting diversity and inclusion.
  • Propose strategies for creating a more inclusive and equitable society for all.
  • Celebrate the rich tapestry of cultures, traditions, and perspectives that make our world diverse and vibrant.

Social Issues

  • Discuss the causes and consequences of social issues such as homelessness, addiction, and discrimination.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of different social programs and policies in addressing social issues.
  • Analyze the role of social media and popular culture in shaping public perceptions of social issues.
  • Propose ways to promote social justice and create a more equitable society.
  • Advocate for the rights and needs of vulnerable populations.

Space Exploration

  • Discuss the history of space exploration and its significance for scientific discovery and human progress.
  • Examine the challenges and opportunities of future space missions, such as colonizing Mars or exploring the deep space.
  • Analyze the potential benefits of space exploration for humanity, such as developing new technologies and improving our understanding of the universe.
  • Propose ways to promote international cooperation in space exploration.
  • Discuss the ethical implications of space exploration and its potential impact on extraterrestrial life.

Historical Events

  • Analyze the causes and consequences of a major historical event, such as the American Revolution, the French Revolution, or World War II.
  • Discuss the impact of historical events on shaping our modern world.
  • Examine the role of individuals and groups in influencing the course of history.
  • Propose ways to learn from the past and avoid repeating mistakes.
  • Celebrate the achievements and contributions of historical figures who have shaped our world.

Video Games

  • Discuss the evolution of video games from their early beginnings to the present day.
  • Analyze the impact of video games on society, both positive and negative.
  • Explore the potential of video games as educational tools and storytelling platforms.
  • Discuss the ethical considerations surrounding video game violence and addiction.
  • Propose ways to promote responsible video game playing and foster positive gaming communities.

Planet Earth

  • Explain the interconnectedness of Earth’s systems, such as the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere.
  • Discuss the impact of human activities on the environment, such as climate change, deforestation, and pollution.
  • Analyze the importance of biodiversity and conservation efforts in preserving Earth’s ecosystems.
  • Propose strategies for promoting sustainable development and reducing our environmental footprint.
  • Advocate for the protection of our planet for future generations.

Social Media Platforms

  • Discuss the impact of social media on communication, relationships, and self-perception.
  • Examine the role of social media in shaping public opinion and spreading misinformation.
  • Analyze the privacy concerns and ethical implications of social media data collection and usage.
  • Propose strategies for using social media responsibly and ethically.
  • Discuss the potential of social media to promote positive change and foster

I hope these explanatory and expository essay topics help your students as they begin to master their explanatory essay-writing skills.

Of course, it’s important to remind students that they can personalize or edit these topics as they see fit, as their essay writing will always be stronger when they are writing about a topic that is important to them.

This may be the first explanatory essay that your students are writing, but it certainly won’t be the last. No matter which topic they choose or how they approach this project, it’s important to remind your class to always keep on writing and I hope these interesting explanatory essay topics were helpful!

97 More Essay Writing Prompts

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Explanatory Essay Writing Topics

PS – Take a look at this valuable essay resource – Expository vs Explanatory: Differences And Uses For Each One

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