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Teacher Tips and Answers

Writing a Problem-Solution Essay

You've selected a problem, explored your prior knowledge about it, and conducted research to discover additional details. Now it's time to write your problem-solution essay. This two-part essay first analyzes a problem with definitions, examples, causes, and effects. Then it proposes and argues for a specific solution or set of solutions. The following activities will help you write your essay.

Writing the Beginning Paragraph

The beginning first needs to grab the reader's attention. Then it introduces the topic and provides background leading up to your opinion statement. To get started with your beginning paragraph, you can experiment with different lead-writing strategies.

Write a lead sentence.

Write a different lead sentence for each strategy to capture the reader's attention. Use the examples as inspiration. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

  1. Present a startling statistic.

    According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 10 Americans had a mood disorder last year, and 21 percent will experience one during their lifetimes.

     

  2. Open with an engaging quotation.

    “I try not to worry about the future—so I take each day just one anxiety attack at a time.” 
    ― Tom Wilson, American Cartoonist

     

  3. Create an interesting scenario.

    Imagine that your life had a movie soundtrack. Now imagine that it was the nerve-racking soundtrack to a suspenseful movie. That's what anxiety and depression feel like.

     

  4. Focus on causes.

    Adrenaline is great for fight-or-flight situations, when you need to energize muscles and put nerves on high alert. Adrenaline is less great when there's no threat, but you feel jittery and paranoid anyway, all the time.

     

This lesson is a part of the Writing Problem-Solution Essays unit.

Click the title to view more information about this unit and a full list of lessons that are included.

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