Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Creatively Creating Expository Essays

Kara Davis
Bay District Schools


In groups, students create inventions using common objects such as pipe cleaners that could have been in FAHRENHEIT 451. Students share how their inventions work, then draft expository essays explaining their purpose or how they were built.


The student drafts and revises writing that: is focused, purposeful, and reflects insight into the writing situation; has an organizational pattern that provides for a logical progression of ideas; has effective use of transitional devices that contribute to a sense of completeness; has support that is substantial, specific, relevant, and concrete; demonstrates a commitment to and involvement with the subject; uses creative writing strategies as appropriate to the purpose of the paper; demonstrates a mature command of language with precision of expression; has varied sentence structure; and has few, if any, convention errors in mechanics, usage, punctuation, and spelling.

The student produces final documents that have been edited for: correct spelling; correct punctuation, including commas, colons, and common use of semicolons; correct capitalization; correct sentence formation; correct instances of possessives, subject/verb agreement, instances of noun/pronoun agreement, and the intentional use of fragments for effect; and correct formatting that appeals to readers, including appropriate use of a variety of graphics, tables, charts, and illustrations in both standard and innovative forms.

The student uses volume, stress, pacing, enunciation, eye contact, and gestures that meet the needs of the audience and topic.

The student uses details, illustrations, analogies, and visual aids to make oral presentations that inform, persuade, or entertain.

The student applies oral communication skills to interviews, group presentations, formal presentations, and impromptu situations.


-Construction materials (such as pipe cleaners, Styrofoam balls, cans, paper plates, paper clips)
- Bradbury, Ray. FAHRENHEIT 451. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1981. (copies for each student)
-Camcorder and tapes
- Kiester, Jane Bell. BLOWING AWAY THE STATE WRITING ASSESSMENT. Gainesville: Maupin House, 1996.
-Pencils, pens


1. Gather materials
2. Create or duplicate scoring rubrics (oral presentation and expository essay)
3. Create or duplicate editing checklist


1. Students should have completed reading FAHRENHEIT 451.

2. Divide the class into groups of four. The students may choose the groups themselves, or you may assign them groups depending on your class.

3. Have the students quietly brainstorm inventions that could have been in the novel, FAHRENHEIT 451.

4. Provide groups with construction materials.

5. As the groups are working, the teacher should walk around, monitor progress, and provide assistance when necessary. The teacher should notice cooperation within groups and ensure all members are contributing.

6. Let the students know when they have five minutes left in the building phase. (On the block schedule, the first half of class should be enough.)

7. Explain to the students that each group will be videotaped sharing its invention with the class.

8. Go over the oral presentation rubric with the students. (See web site link.)

9. Explain that each group member will be responsible for one part of the oral presentation. One person will explain the materials the group used in construction and their general idea. The next member will explain how the invention was constructed. The third student will explain the inventionís tie to the novel. The last member will explain how the object works or is used.

10. Have groups present their inventions to the class. The teacher should videotape them.

11. Once all groups have completed the oral presentations, inform students that they will be writing an expository essay based on their inventions.

12. Review the FCAT Writing rubric and elements of an expository essay with the class.

13. Instruct students to begin pre-writing an expository essay explaining how their invention was built or how it works. (Note: there is an excellent prewriting template in BLOWING AWAY THE STATE WRITING ASSESSMENT that students can learn to draw on their own when taking standardized tests.)

14. The teacher should walk around the room and help students organize their prewriting.

15. Once most students have completed their prewriting, instruct them to begin work on a rough draft of their essay.

16. Have students exchange drafts for peer editing. The teacher may provide students with an editing checklist to ensure participation and relevant feedback. (Again, there is an excellent feedback tool in BLOWING AWAY THE STATE WRITING ASSESSMENT.)

17. With the feedback provided through the editing process, have students write final drafts of the essays.


Use a rubric to assess the group presentation (see Web Link below).

Use observations of student behavior while building the inventions and work on editing
Checklist (see BLOWING AWAY THE STATE WRITING ASSESSMENT) to assess student effectiveness in group cooperation.

Use the FCAT Writing Rubric to assess the studentsí final drafts of their expository essays (see BLOWING AWAY THE STATE WRITING ASSESSMENT).

Depending on students' experience and background with the skills necessary for this activity, teachers can decide whether the assessment is formative or summative.
I would recommend this activity be given three separate grades(group work for creation, essay, and oral presentation) since the skills being assessed in each component are very unique from each other.


1. Students may write their essays based on another groupís presentation to assess and enhance listening skills.
2. Two lower level students may be paired with two higher level students for the group work. Then allow a higher level and lower level student to work together on the expository essay.

Web Links

This link contains a good rubric for assessing the oral presentation portion of this lesson.
Persuasive Speech Rubric

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