You should thoroughly develop a 500-750 word, 5-paragraph informative essay with the intent of educating an audience about a topic covered in science fiction texts. For a full list of topics, check out this list from Wikipedia. The topic you chose should interest you in some way, engage your curiosity, and lead you to do additional research on your own. The topic of your research should also inspire you to write your 750-1,000 word short story and provide you with enough information to make it believable. More on that below.
First paragraph should briefly introduce your topic, starting with an exciting and interesting attention getter. Consider starting with a quote as long as it is appropriate for your topic. Consider your audience. Your introduction should end with your three part thesis. Your body paragraphs should follow the lead you established with your thesis, in the same order as your three subtopics. Your conclusion should review the main points of your essay. Rephrase your thesis and include it in your conclusion.
As this is a research assignment, you will be expected to incorporate your sources into your writing. I’m requiring you to use 2, though you may use more than that if you like. Wikipedia should not be considered a valid source, though it is a great starting point for familiarizing yourself with your topic. The links provided as sources at the bottom of the Wikipedia entry may be great resources to refer to in your writing. So yes, these may be used as sources, if you consider them reliable.
Compose this essay using MLA style. Purdue’s Online Writing Lab contains excellent resources to help students understand what this entails. The basic rules for in-text citations are discussed on their site. Citations depend on the type of source–print, non-print, web, etc. An assignment submitted with no citations or works cited page will receive a max of 25% credit. Citations and a works cited page are essential in a research paper. Follow instructions.
Regardless of correct citations or not, do not use direct quotes for more than 20% of your entire essay. In other words, 100-150 words MAX can be directly quoted in your entire essay. Quoting more than this will result in a 50% deduction. Learn to paraphrase, taking ideas, considering them carefully, and rewording them in your own voice and style.
Use no more than 10 “be” verbs (am, is, was, were, be, being, been). Never include 1st or 2nd person pronouns in formal writing, unless specifically requested. Eliminate statements such as “I think” or “I believe.” Never write “In this paper I will tell you” or “In this paper you will find.” Papers with any of these types of errors will receive an automatic 10% deduction. As AP students, you should be beyond this type of vocabulary and word usage. Proofreading is a must. Too many papers in the past contained silly mistakes. In the immortalized words of my graduate professor, Dr. Michael Slavkin, “Always spell check a document — Stupid is as stupid does and nothing says stupid more than somoeneone thut cant spull wright.”
Include your word count after the last sentence in your final paragraph. Be honest. Do not count the works cited page toward the word count.
I will check all submissions for plagiarism. Several types of plagiarism exist, though the basic idea is the same for each type: you took words or ideas which did not originate in your brain and copied them into your essay, story, poem, etc. If you would like to learn more about plagiarism, you can check out this link, this one, and this one. In an AP class, I take plagiarism very seriously. Here’s the deal: If you plagiarize *part or all of your essay, you will receive an automatic zero without the opportunity to redo, a phone call home, and a copy of the assignment will be placed in your permanent file in the counselor’s office. Do not ask for letters of recommendation from me if you plagiarize an assignment.
*Quantity doesn’t really matter here. Plagiarism is plagiarism, no matter if it represents only a quarter of your paper or all of it. Bottom line: in AP, it’s inexcusable. And in college, it’ll probably get you kicked out. So don’t do it. If you would like to check your essay for plagiarism, here is one of the tools I use.
You will submit two copies of this essay: a first version and a second version. For the first version, I will mark types of mistakes once, make a general comment about the essay format, provide overall suggestions for improvement, and identify strengths within the writing. Correcting all items marked in the first version will not necessarily result in a grade of 100% for the second version.