Model Essay 8th Grade Practice Prompt topic #1

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Model Essay

8th Grade Practice Prompt
TOPIC #1: The state legislature is considering changing the driving age from 16 years of age to 21 years of age. Should this law be passed?
Write a five-paragraph persuasive essay to the state legislature stating if you agree or disagree and why.
Think About:

  • military

  • jobs

  • family activities

  • after school activities

  • accidents and insurance rates

  • Consider the opposing arguments and avoid logical fallacies

Crash! Bang! Boom! These are common sounds heard by teen drivers – if they are lucky. Unlucky drivers hear dead silence - forever! (Attention Grabber) Some might say that all teens should not be punished for the irresponsible actions of a few. However, teens do cause a disproportionate number of accidents. Car accidents are the leading cause of death among all teens. (Situation/Problem) Therefore, state legislatures should raise the driving age to 21 because it would decrease accidents, reduce driving costs, and improve the environment. (Thesis; position)

Drivers under the age of 25 have the highest accident rate of all drivers. (Topic Sentence; Reason #1) Lack of maturity contributes to poor judgment making teenagers more susceptible to peer pressure. (Concrete detail; Point) For example, teens often begin drinking because all of their friends drink, and they want to fit in. (Commentary; Illustrate) Lack of maturity combined with lack of experience can lead to poor decisions, such as drinking and driving. Extensive, mandated training could teach teens how to make good judgments on the road. (Commentary; Explain) However, learning a strategy does not guarantee implementation. (Concluding sentence; Counterargument)

Limiting drivers to those over the age of 21 will reduce costs. (Topic Sentence; Reason #2) Younger drives cause a disproportionate number of accidents, and the cost is shared by everyone. (Concrete detail; Point) Therefore, insurance rates would see the most immediate decrease. (Commentary; Illustrate) We would pay for our fair share of the insurance, rather than our share and part of someone else’s. (Commentary; Explain) Less money spent on gas, insurance, car payments and car repairs would ensue with the increased driving age. (Concrete detail; Point) Families could spend this “found” money on necessities or discretionary items. (Commentary; Illustrate) Teens do pay higher insurance rates to offset cost. (Commentary; Explain) However, the higher rates are not enough to defray all of the costs. (Concluding sentence; Counterargument)

An improved environment would result from an increased driving age. (Topic Sentence; Reason #3) Fewer drivers equals less pollution. (Concrete detail; Point) Fewer drivers would mean less congestion, and this would lead to fewer idling engines on backed-up roadways. (Commentary; Illustrate) Both car emissions and fuel use would be reduced. (Commentary; Explain) This in turn would decrease our dependency on fossil fuels. (Concrete detail; Point) Fossil fuels contribute to pollution by creating carbon emissions. (Commentary; Illustrate) These harmful carbon emissions are major contributor to environmental pollution. (Commentary; Explain) There are other options to reduce pollution, such as alternative fuel vehicles; however, teens are more likely to own older, used less fuel-efficient vehicles. (Concluding sentence; Counterargument)

Having fewer teen drivers on the road would mean fewer accidents, reduced costs and less pollution. (Restatement of thesis) As can be seen, both teens and society would benefit from this increase in the driving age. The teen death rate would decrease, resulting in safer roads for everyone. People would save money, benefiting the economy. We would all be breathing cleaner air. We need to let our legislators know that we support raising the minimum driving age to 21. We can save a life, save the economy, save the planet! (Call to action)


Ideas - 5 Ideas that are clear and focused. Easily identified by the reader.

Organization – 5 Eye-catching beginning, effective sequencing, strong ending

Word Choice – 5 Words are varied and effectively convey the message.

Sentence Fluency – 5 Length of sentences vary and add to the fluency of the paper.

Conventions – 6 Use standard English conventions throughout

Voice – 5 The voice is present and easily identifiable.

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