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Teacher Tips and Answers

Prewriting for Problem-Solution Essays

A problem-solution essay begins, of course, with a problem that you want to understand and solve. Fortunately, problems aren't shy: They tend to leap right out at you. You may already have a topic in mind from the "pain points" warm-up at the beginning of this unit. If not, these activities will help you find a topic.

Prewriting to Think About Problems

Problems are everywhere in life. You can start to think about problems by considering any aspect of life, from food to families to fun, and think about the problems that can come up in those areas. Start by consulting the Basics of Life List. This list contains all of the essentials of life—general subject areas. Pick one or two subjects that interest you. Then list problems that relate to that subject. You can click on any of these subject areas to find more resources related to it.

One student selected the subject "Personality" to write about and created a cluster to explore pain points with personality. Afterward, the student chose to write about his own struggles with anxiety, depression, and seasonal affective disorder, and the solutions he has found to help him manage his mood states.

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