Discovery Essay Topics

...more writing promptsfor Curiosity to Discovery!      
Note for Teachers - The purpose of our 30 minute timed writing prompts is to engage learners in a carefully crafted exercise that will improve fluency of both thought and pen.  Quality writing effectively expresses how a person feels, or thinks, in response to any given topic.  This doesn't just happen, but requires consistent and meaningful practice (time on task)...  the aim and focus of our Daily Writing Prompt website.  A guide to constructing a 5 paragraph essay, along with a model passage for students to study and dissect can also be found on this page.
Model Essay -The ideals of adopting a lifetime of learning are increasing in their popularity. Where previously people had only considered education as applying to children teenagers and young adults, people of all ages are being encouraged to expand what they know by pursuing areas of interest that they have never before. The decisions of what to study are highly personal. Some people may prefer studying a new language or gaining a new skill or hobby. Others may return to more traditional subjects of math, science or technology. While I could find something of personal interest in any of these fields, I would be most interested in studying broadcast media because of is influence on the modern world, the persuasive power that it presents and because TV and movies are a prominent interest of mine.

Broadcast media has profound influence on society. The media shapes how we understand and respond to political, economic and social changes. Their reach is broad and varied impacting all people from the very young to the very old. Studying broadcast media would help me to better understand the inner workings of this highly influential force. This could enable me to see through potential bias or deceptive marketing. Consider how athletes will often study anatomy and human nutrition. While this knowledge isn't necessary for them to participate in athletics, learning how these systems combine to affect performance can help the athlete make more informed decisions about training and competing. Similiarly if I were to better understand broadcast media, it wouldn't necessarily affect my ability to consume or enjoy media but it may affect how I leverage media to my advantage.

Broadcast media could help me learn principles of persuasion. One of the primary reasons why media is so influential is because it understand how to evoke specific responses from people. While certainly there is the potential for the media to misuse their persuasive power, understanding the principles of affecting change that the media utilizes could be highly valuable in both personal and professional contexts. The media regularly sets the trends in fashion that becomes popular. Even items that aren't particularly attractive can become popular because the media convinces us that it looks good and that we'll look good wearing it too. Now I am not concerned about influencing the fashion decisions that people make but regularly in my work I have to convince both employees and customers to change their preferences and adopt new practices. Gaining an understanding about how to more widely influence people could help me be more effective.

Broadcast media would likely have coursework that aligned with my hobbies and interests. At this point in my life and career, I wouldn't necessarily want to return to the days of homework, assignments and tests. However, studying broadcast media would likely consist of activities that I am already doing such as watching or listening to a particular show and then either discussing it or doing written analyses of it. Thus adding a component of media study to my life would likely fit how I am already choosing to spend my free time. A friend of mine who is actually pursuing a graduate degree in mass communications recently had a task of watching 20 shows of a particular popular tv show. While they watched they were supposed to look at product placement advertising and then write a report. I ended up watching all of the shows with them and even helped with the write up. While we both enjoyed the task, the only difference was that he got credit and I did not.

Because I would likely enjoy the practice components of the coursework, it would increase my ability to persuade those around me and help me to better navigate what I see and hear in the media, I would choose to study broadcast media. While there would be short-term and long term personal benefits from me taking this specific course of study, generally as people pursue a life of learning there are also short-term and long term societal benefits. As people learn new things, their world-view is expanded; they become more tolerant and empathetic. Education has also been tied to lower mortality rates and improved happiness.  Finally, there are advantages economically as a more educated workforce results in increased innovation and economic stability.
Model Essay - Learning is an important part of what makes us human and what advances our lives both individually and collectively. As a result just as people are quick to discuss and debate the best route to take to get somewhere; people find it interesting to discuss which methods best facilitate learning. Some say that you don't learn until you do. Others say that books are the keys to learning. Finally there are those that feel the communication of spoken language is the best mode. Ultimately it will be an individual answer because everyone learns differently. While reading is certainly very efficient and applying what you are learning is a necessary step, I learn best through listening because i it engages many of my senses simultaneously while also allowing for critical thinking and fostering a connection with the person who is giving the instruction.

Listening is multi-sensory. Listening engages at minimum two senses: visual and auditory. Experts say that the more sense you have engaged the more memorable things become. Reading about things primarily only activates the single sense of doing things. Doing things activates two senses: touch and seeing; however I find that the audio track of someone explaining the steps and sequences to be most memorable. Take cooking for example. I'm not a great cook but I'm getting better. The best way for me to learn is not through just reading a recipe. And actually its not by just jumping in and trying to make something. I learn best by watching and taking notes while someone models the recipe first. In addition to listening and seeing the demonstration, this type of learning becomes enhanced by smell and taste too. 

Listening allows me to analyze what's happening while its happening. While someone else is explaining something I am able to compare what they are saying against what I expected them to say and also my existing knowledge about something. This analysis helps me to contextualize what's being said, enhance it with background knowledge and also evaluate it for its accuracy. All of these processes mean that I'm cognitively more engaged when listening.  To apply this to watching and listening to a cooking demonstration, I am able to ask myself internal questions--"why are they using ingredient X and not why" , make predictions--"I bet they transfer it to cold water next", and make connections--"This is like making ravioli. In the end, I have not only what I saw to remember but I have the internal analysis dialogue to help me better remember and understand. 

Listening is generally more social than reading or doing things. When you are listening to someone, it is easier to feel a connection between that person. Even if you aren't physically with them, they are personally present in at least their voice. Thus feeling like I'm connecting with someone while listening to them talk about a subject makes me both enjoy and engage in listening tasks more. Again to return to the example of cooking demonstrations, I find that I learn a lot about a person through watching them explain how to cook something. They often share personal experiences to emphasize steps of the process. Seeing how they move and adjust to problems helps me better know them and being able to make eye contact with them helps me fee like we've become more closely connected. Being able to establish a connection with someone makes me care much more with what it is they are teaching me. 

Developing an interpersonal connection with the speaker while engaging in cognitive analysis of what is being presented enhanced by multi sensory input are reasons why for me listening is the best way to be shown something and remember it. Establishing ones own learning preferences and styles is an important part of being a successful learner. Because I know that I am an auditory learner I make attending the lectures of a course the top priority. While other students may be able to just read the textbook  (learning through reading) or complete the homework (learning through doing), I know that for me the biggest return on my investment will be through seeing and hearing the information as its presented. As a result in academic, professional and even social contexts, I know that being present and ready to listen will increase my ability to understand and influence others. 

Curiosity to Discovery

Prompts - Timed Essays - Tutorials - Models
Prompt 1 - If you could study a subject that you have never had the opportunity to study, what would you choose? Explain your choice, using specific reasons and details. Tutorial Screencast - Model Essay
Prompt 2 - People learn in different ways. Some people learn by doing things; other people learn by reading about things; others learn by listening to people talk about things. Which of these methods of learning is best for you? Use specific examples to support your choice. Tutorial Screencast - Model Essay
About Me - Tell about areas that you are most curious about.

Descriptive - Describe a teacher that was inspirational to you.  Who were they and how did they affect you? 

Narrative - Tell about something that you were always very curious about as a child. Describe how this curiosity started and how it changed over time.

Problem / Solution - Plan a trip to a place that you've always been curious about.  Where will you go, what will you do while you are there, and what do you think you will discover from this trip.

Abstract - Albert Einstein said, "It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education."  What did he mean and to what extent do you agree?

Hypothesis - Some would say that curiosity is not fixed but can be increased and decreased.  What contributes to the development of curiosity and what contributes to its decline?

Support an Opinion -  Do you agree or disagree with this statement?  "There should be no limits on research that could save lives."  Use specific details and examples to support your answer.

If you could study a subject that you have never had the opportunity to study, what would you choose?  Explain your choice, using specific reasons and details.  

People learn in different ways.  Some people learn by doing things; other people learn by reading about things; others learn by listening to people talk about things.  Which of these methods of learning is best for you?  Use specific examples to support your choice.  

As 'Discovery' makes up the Area of Study for all HSC students studying English this year, we want to share some of our favourite quotes on the topic. 

Notions of discovery can vary greatly, and there are a number of different types you could explore; discovering something new, rediscovery, self-discovery, discovery of people, discovery of places and more. 

Here are some diverse and thought provoking quotes that will hopefully get the creative juices flowing! 

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Check our our Pinterest board 'HSC Discovery English' for more quotes and related text ideas.  

 If you need help with English or would like your essays or assignments reviewed, connect with one of our expert English Specialists or submit your essay to our 24/7 review service for detailed feedback. 

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