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  • 1. You’ve got to give the students room to analyze, to synthesize, to show both sides of an issue, or to develop an idea, and the essay question is the only way that I know to do that. Instruction Words Explain When asked to explain, you should tell how something happens or works. This is similar to a written explanation that you have probably written in science (e.g. How a Volcano Works) or a procedure (e.g. How does the Voting Process Work). Compare and Contrast When comparing, you should explain and use specific examples to illustrate how things are similar. Try to show more than one way. The more examples you give, the better. Contrasting is the opposite. When contrasting, you are showing how things are different. Again, try to give as many examples as you can.
  • 2. Describe Descriptions are written accounts of how something or somebody looks, feels, sounds, or acts. When we describe something, we use sensory words and descriptions. Define When asked to define; you must be like a scientist. Simply tell what the topic or word means or what it is. Pretend you are looking in an encyclopedia or dictionary. Just give the facts, no colorful adjectives or personal opinions. Prove When proving something, you must give the facts and details in order to show something is true. So, you state your fact (or you may be given one on a test), and give details that support that fact.