2014 Csadd Topics For Essays

Updated, March 2, 2017 | We published an updated version of this list, “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing,” as well as a companion piece, “401 Prompts for Argumentative Writing.”


Every school day since 2009 we’ve asked students a question based on an article in The New York Times. Now, five years later, we’ve collected 500 of them that invite narrative and personal writing and pulled them all together in one place (available here as a PDF).

The categorized list below touches on everything from sports to travel, education, gender roles, video games, fashion, family, pop culture, social media and more, and, like all our Student Opinion questions, each links to a related Times article and includes a series of follow-up questions. What’s more, all these questions are still open for comment by any student 13 or older.

So dive into this admittedly overwhelming list and pick the questions that most inspire you to tell an interesting story, describe a memorable event, observe the details in your world, imagine a possibility, or reflect on who you are and what you believe.


Childhood Memories

  1. What Was Your Most Precious Childhood Possession?
  2. What Were Your Favorite Childhood Shows and Characters?
  3. What Were Your Favorite Picture Books When You Were Little?
  4. What Things Did You Create When You Were a Child?
  5. What Places Do You Remember Fondly From Childhood?
  6. Have You Ever Felt Embarrassed by Things You Used to Like?
  7. Do You Wish You Could Return to Moments From Your Past?
  8. Was There a Toy You Wanted as a Child but Never Got?
  9. What Objects Tell the Story of Your Life?
  10. What Are Your Best Sleepover Memories?
  11. What’s the Best Gift You’ve Ever Given or Received?
  12. What’s the Most Memorable Thing You Ever Got in the Mail?
  13. What Nicknames Have You Ever Gotten or Given?

  14. Coming of Age

  15. What Have You Learned in Your Teens?
  16. What Personal Achievements Make You Proud?
  17. What Are Some Recent Moments of Happiness in Your Life?
  18. What Are You Grateful For?
  19. What Rites of Passage Have You Participated In?
  20. What Advice Would You Give Younger Kids About Middle or High School?
  21. What Can Older People Learn From Your Generation?
  22. What Do Older Generations Misunderstand About Yours?

  23. Family

  24. Who Is Your Family?
  25. What Have You and Your Family Accomplished Together?
  26. What Events Have Brought You Closer to Your Family?
  27. What’s Your Role in Your Family?
  28. Have You Ever Changed a Family Member’s Mind?
  29. How Do You Define ‘Family’?
  30. What Are Your Family Stories of Sacrifice?
  31. What Possessions Does Your Family Treasure?
  32. What Hobbies Have Been Passed Down in Your Family?
  33. How Much Do You Know About Your Family’s History?
  34. Did Your Parents Have a Life Before They Had Kids?
  35. How Close Are You to Your Parents?
  36. How Are You and Your Parents Alike and Different?
  37. Do Your Parents Support Your Learning?
  38. What Have Your Parents Taught You About Money?
  39. Do You Expect Your Parents to Give You Money?
  40. How Permissive Are Your Parents?
  41. Do You Have Helicopter Parents?
  42. How Do Your Parents Teach You to Behave?
  43. How Do You Make Parenting Difficult for Your Parents?
  44. If You Drink or Use Drugs, Do Your Parents Know?
  45. Do You Talk About Report Cards With Your Parents?
  46. Would You Mind if Your Parents Blogged About You?
  47. How Well Do You Get Along With Your Siblings?
  48. How Well Do You Know Your Pet?
  49. What Role Do Pets Play in Your Family?
  50. What Is Your Racial and Ethnic Identity?
  51. Have You Ever Tried to Hide Your Racial or Ethnic Identity?
  52. How Do You Feel About Your Last Name?
  53. What’s the Story Behind Your Name?
  54. What Are Your Favorite Names?
  55. How Have You Paid Tribute to Loved Ones?

  56. Community and Home

  57. Would You Most Want to Live in a City, a Suburb or the Country?
  58. How Much Does Your Neighborhood Define Who You Are?
  59. What’s Special About Your Hometown?
  60. What Would You Name Your Neighborhood?
  61. Who Is the ‘Mayor’ of Your School or Neighborhood?
  62. Who Are the ‘Characters’ That Make Your Town Interesting?
  63. What Would a TV Show About Your Town Spoof?
  64. What ‘Urban Legends’ Are There About Places in Your Area?
  65. What Local Problems Do You Think Your Mayor Should Try to Solve?
  66. Do You Know Your Way Around Your City or Town?
  67. Have You Ever Interacted With the Police?
  68. How Often Do You Interact With People of Another Race or Ethnicity?
  69. Who Would Be the Ideal Celebrity Neighbor?
  70. What Is Your Favorite Place?
  71. How Much Time Do You Spend in Nature?
  72. What Small Things Have You Seen and Taken Note Of Today?
  73. What Would Your Dream Home Be Like?
  74. What is Your Favorite Place in Your House?
  75. How Important Is Keeping a Clean House?
  76. Is Your Bedroom a Nightmare?
  77. Do You Plan on Saving Any of Your Belongings for the Future?
  78. With Your Home in Danger, What Would You Try to Save?
  79. What Would You Put in Your Emergency ‘Go-Bag’?
  80. Have You Ever Lost (or Found) Something Valuable?

  81. Personality

  82. What Is Your Personal Credo?
  83. What Motivates You?
  84. What Makes You Happy?
  85. What Are You Good At?
  86. How Much Self-Control Do You Have?
  87. How Good Are You at Waiting for What You Really Want?
  88. What Role Does Procrastination Play in Your Life?
  89. When in Your Life Have You Been a Leader?
  90. How Well Do You Perform Under Pressure?
  91. How Well Do You Take Criticism?
  92. Are You Hard or Easy on Yourself?
  93. How Full Is Your Glass?
  94. Do You Have a Hard Time Making Decisions?
  95. How Good Are You at Time Management?
  96. How Productive and Organized Are You?
  97. How Would Your Life Be Different if You Had Better Listening Skills?
  98. How Competitive Are You?
  99. Do You Perform Better When You’re Competing or When You’re Collaborating?
  100. Do You Take More Risks When You Are Around Your Friends?
  101. Do You Unknowingly Submit to Peer Pressure?
  102. How Much of a Daredevil Are You?
  103. What Pranks, Jokes, Hoaxes or Tricks Have You Ever Fallen For or Perpetrated?
  104. How Do You React When Provoked?
  105. How Often Do You Cry?
  106. Do You Think You’re Brave?
  107. What Are You Afraid Of?
  108. What Are Your Fears and Phobias?
  109. What Are Your Personal Superstitions?
  110. Do You Like Being Alone?
  111. How Impulsive Are You?
  112. Are You a Novelty-Seeker?
  113. What Annoys You?
  114. Do You Apologize Too Much?
  115. Do You Have Good Manners?
  116. Are You a Saver or a Tosser?
  117. Are You More Introvert or Extrovert?
  118. Are You Popular, Quirky or Conformist?
  119. Are You a Nerd or a Geek?
  120. What Would Your Personal Mascot Be?
  121. What Assumptions Do People Make About You?

  122. Overcoming Adversity

  123. What Challenges Have You Overcome?
  124. What Do You Do When You Encounter Obstacles to Success?
  125. What Are Your Secret Survival Strategies?
  126. How Do You Find Peace in Your Life?
  127. How Have You Handled Being the ‘New Kid’?
  128. Do You Ever Feel Overlooked and Underappreciated?
  129. How Stressed Are You?
  130. How Do You Relieve Stress?
  131. Does Stress Affect Your Ability to Make Good Decisions?
  132. What Challenges Have You Set for Yourself?
  133. How Often Do You Leave Your ‘Comfort Zone’?
  134. What Did You Once Hate but Now Like?
  135. Does Your Life Leave You Enough Time to Relax?
  136. Do You Set Rules for Yourself About How You Use Your Time?
  137. Is ‘Doing Nothing’ a Good Use of Your Time?
  138. What’s Cluttering Up Your Life?
  139. What Work Went Into Reaching Your Most Difficult Goals?
  140. When Have You Ever Failed at Something? What Happened as a Result?
  141. When Have You Ever Succeeded When You Thought You Might Fail?
  142. What Life Lessons Has Adversity Taught You?
  143. What’s the Most Challenging Assignment You’ve Ever Had?
  144. What Kind of Feedback Helps You Improve?
  145. Is Trying Too Hard to Be Happy Making You Sad?
  146. Do Adults Who Are ‘Only Trying to Help’ Sometimes Make Things Worse?
  147. What Are Five Everyday Problems That Bother You, and What Can You Do About Them?

  148. Gender and Sexuality

  149. How Do Male and Female Roles Differ in Your Family?
  150. Do Parents Have Different Hopes and Standards for Their Sons Than for Their Daughters?
  151. Is There Too Much Pressure on Girls to Have ‘Perfect’ Bodies?
  152. How Much Pressure Do Boys Face to Have the Perfect Body?
  153. How Did You Learn About Sex?
  154. How Should Parents Address Internet Pornography?
  155. What Experiences Have You Had With Gender Bias in School?
  156. What Have Been Your Experiences With Catcalling or Other Kinds of Street Harassment?
  157. Do You Know Boys Who Regard Girls as ‘Prey’?
  158. Do You Consider Yourself a Feminist?

  159. Morality and Religion

  160. How Do You Help?
  161. What Ethical Dilemmas Have You Faced?
  162. Would You Help an Injured Stranger?
  163. When Is the Last Time You Did Something Nice for a Stranger?
  164. Have You Ever ‘Paid It Forward’?
  165. How Much Do You Gossip?
  166. How Comfortable Are You With Lying?
  167. Have You Ever Taken Something You Weren’t Supposed To?
  168. What Could You Live Without?
  169. Do You Ever Feel Guilty About What, or How Much, You Throw Away?
  170. Do You Ever Eavesdrop?
  171. How Important Is Your Spiritual Life?
  172. Do You Believe That Everything Happens for a Reason?
  173. Can You Be Good Without God?
  174. Are You Less Religious Than Your Parents?
  175. Can You Pass a Basic Religion Test?
  176. What Can You Learn From Other Religions?

  177. Role Models

  178. Who Is Your Role Model?
  179. Who Are Your Heroes?
  180. Who Inspires You?
  181. What’s the Best Advice You’ve Gotten?
  182. Who Outside Your Family Has Made a Difference in Your Life?
  183. If You Had Your Own Talk Show, Whom Would You Want to Interview?
  184. To Whom, or What, Would You Like to Write a Thank-You Note?
  185. What Leader Would You Invite to Speak at Your School?
  186. What Six People, Living or Dead, Would You Invite to Dinner?

  187. Technology and Video Games

  188. Are You Distracted by Technology?
  189. Do You Always Have Your Phone or Tablet at Your Side?
  190. What Tech Tools Play the Biggest Role in Your Life?
  191. What New Technologies or Tech Toys Are You Most Excited About?
  192. To What Piece of Technology Would You Write a ‘Love Letter’?
  193. Does Your Digital Life Have Side Effects?
  194. Do Apps Help You or Just Waste Your Time?
  195. Do You Spend Too Much Time on Smart Phones Playing ‘Stupid Games’?
  196. When Do You Choose Making a Phone Call Over Sending a Text?
  197. Do You Know How to Code? Would You Like to Learn?
  198. Whom Would You Share Your Passwords With?
  199. What Are Your Favorite Video Games?
  200. What Have You Learned Playing Video Games?
  201. Do You Play Violent Video Games?
  202. When Should You Feel Guilty for Killing Zombies?
  203. Who Are Your Opponents in Online Gaming?
  204. Do You Like Watching Other People Play Video Games?

  205. The Internet

  206. How Careful Are You Online?
  207. Do You Ever Seek Advice on the Internet?
  208. How Do You Know if What You Read Online Is True?
  209. How Much Do You Trust Online Reviews?
  210. How Do You Use Wikipedia?
  211. What Are Your Favorite Internet Spoofs?
  212. What Are Your Favorite Viral Videos?
  213. What Would You Teach the World in an Online Video?
  214. What Are Your Experiences With Internet-Based Urban Legends?
  215. What Story Does Your Personal Data Tell?
  216. Do You Worry About the Lack of Anonymity in the Digital Age?
  217. Do You Wish You Had More Privacy Online?
  218. Have You Ever Been Scammed?

  219. Social Media

  220. How Do You Use Facebook?
  221. What Is Your Facebook Persona?
  222. What Memorable Experiences Have You Had on Facebook?
  223. Does Facebook Ever Make You Feel Bad?
  224. Would You Consider Deleting Your Facebook Account?
  225. Do You Have ‘Instagram Envy’?
  226. Do You Use Twitter?
  227. Why Do You Share Photos?
  228. How Do You Archive Your Life?
  229. Have You Ever Posted, Emailed or Texted Something You Wish You Could Take Back?
  230. Have You Ever Sent an Odd Message Because of Auto-Correct?
  231. Would You Want Your Photo or Video to Go Viral?
  232. Do You Worry Colleges or Employers Might Read Your Social Media Posts Someday?

  233. Music

  234. What Are You Listening To?
  235. Who in Your Life Introduces You to New Music?
  236. How Much Is Your Taste in Music Based on What Your Friends Like?
  237. What Music Inspires You?
  238. How Closely Do You Listen to Lyrics?
  239. Which Pop Music Stars Fascinate You?
  240. Who Is Your Favorite Pop Diva?
  241. What’s Your Karaoke Song?
  242. What Song/Artist Pairings Would You Like to Hear?

  243. Movies, Theater and Television

  244. What Were the Best Movies You Saw in the Past Year?
  245. What Movies Do You Watch, or Reference, Over and Over?
  246. What Movies, Shows or Books Do You Wish Had Sequels, Spinoffs or New Episodes?
  247. Do You Like Horror Movies?
  248. Who Are Your Favorite Movie Stars?
  249. Would You Pay Extra for a 3-D Movie?
  250. What Is Your Favorite Comedy?
  251. What Are the Best Live Theatrical Performances You’ve Ever Seen?
  252. Have You Ever Stumbled Upon a Cool Public Performance?
  253. What Role Does Television Play in Your Life and the Life of Your Family?
  254. What Television Shows Have Mattered to You?
  255. Do Your Television Viewing Habits Include ‘Binge-Watching’?
  256. How Often Do You Watch a Television Show When It Originally Airs?
  257. What Old Television Shows Would You Bring Back?
  258. Why Do We Like Reality Shows So Much?
  259. What Ideas Do You Have for a Reality Show?
  260. What Are Your Favorite Commercials?
  261. How Much Are You Influenced by Advertising?

  262. Reading, Writing and Fine Arts

  263. Read Any Good Books Lately?
  264. Do You Read for Pleasure?
  265. What Are Your Favorite Books and Authors?
  266. What Are the Best Things You’ve Read, Watched, Heard or Played This Year?
  267. What Are Your Favorite Young Adult Novels?
  268. What’s on Your Summer Reading List?
  269. What Memorable Poetry Have You Ever Read or Heard?
  270. What Are Your Favorite Cartoons?
  271. What Magazines Do You Read, and How Do You Read Them?
  272. Do You Enjoy Reading Tabloid Gossip?
  273. When Have You Seen Yourself and Your Life Reflected in a Book or Other Media?
  274. Do You Prefer Your Children’s Book Characters Obedient or Contrary?
  275. Do You Read E-Books?
  276. Would You Trade Your Paper Books for Digital Versions?
  277. To What Writer Would You Award a Prize?
  278. Why Do You Write?
  279. Do You Keep a Diary or Journal?
  280. Do You Have a Blog?
  281. Do You Want to Write a Book?
  282. When Do You Write by Hand?
  283. Do You Write in Cursive?
  284. Do You Write in Your Books?
  285. What ‘Mundane Moments’ From Your Life Might Make Great Essay Material?
  286. What’s the Coolest Thing You’ve Ever Seen in a Museum?
  287. What Are the Most Memorable Works of Visual Art You Have Seen?
  288. What Are Your Favorite Works of Art?

  289. Language and Speech

  290. What Are Your Favorite and Least Favorite Words?
  291. What Words or Phrases Do You Think Are Overused?
  292. How Much Slang Do You Use? What Are Your Favorite (Printable) Words?
  293. How Much Do You Curse? Why?
  294. Why Do So Many People Say ‘Like’ and ‘Totally’ All the Time?
  295. Do You Sometimes ‘Hide’ Behind Irony?
  296. How Good Is Your Grammar?
  297. What New Emoticons Does the World Need?
  298. Are You Fluent in Vocal Fry, Creaky Voice or Uptalk?
  299. How Much Information Is ‘Too Much Information’?
  300. When Did You Last Have a Great Conversation?
  301. Do You Speak a Second, or Third, Language?
  302. When Do You Remember Learning a New Word?

  303. School and Teachers

  304. Do You Like School?
  305. What Are You Really Learning at School?
  306. What Are You Looking Forward To, or Dreading, This School Year?
  307. Would You Want to Be Home-Schooled?
  308. Would You Like to Take a Class Online?
  309. Would You Rather Attend a Public or a Private High School?
  310. How Would You Grade Your School?
  311. What Can Other Schools Learn — and Copy — From Your School?
  312. Is Your School Day Too Short?
  313. What Do You Hope to Get Out of High School?
  314. Do You Have Too Much Homework?
  315. Does Your Homework Help You Learn?
  316. What Is Your Best Subject?
  317. What Memorable Experiences Have You Had in Learning Science or Math?
  318. Are You Afraid of Math?
  319. Do We Need a New Way to Teach Math?
  320. What Are the Best Ways to Learn About History?
  321. How Would You Do on a Civics Test?
  322. How Important Is Arts Education?
  323. What Is Your Most Memorable Writing Assignment?
  324. What Would You Like to Have Memorized?
  325. Does Your School Value Students’ Digital Skills?
  326. What Was Your Favorite Field Trip?
  327. Do You Participate in Class?
  328. What Are Your Best Tips for Studying?
  329. Do You Use Study Guides?
  330. Is Everything You’ve Been Taught About Study Habits Wrong?
  331. How Well Do You Think Standardized Tests Measure Your Abilities?
  332. Do You Have a Tutor?
  333. Are Your Grades Inflated?
  334. When Has a Teacher Inspired You?
  335. What Teacher Do You Appreciate?
  336. What Teacher Would You Like to Thank?
  337. What Do You Wish Your Teachers Knew About You?
  338. Do Your Test Scores Reflect How Good Your Teachers Are?
  339. Do Your Teachers Use Technology Well?

  340. School Social Environment

  341. What Role Do School Clubs and Teams Play in Your Life?
  342. Who Has the Power in School Social Life?
  343. How Big a Problem Is Bullying or Cyberbullying in Your School or Community?
  344. Does Your School Seem Integrated?
  345. What’s the Racial Makeup of Your School?
  346. Do You Ever ‘Mix It Up’ and Socialize With Different People at School?
  347. Can Students at Your School Talk Openly About Their Mental Health Issues?
  348. Is Your School a ‘Party School’?
  349. How Common Is Drug Use in Your School?
  350. Do You Know People Who Cheat on High-Stakes Tests?
  351. How Does Your School Deal With Students Who Misbehave?
  352. How Much Does Your Life in School Intersect With Your Life Outside School?
  353. Would You Ever Go Through Hazing to Be Part of a Group?

  354. Senior Year, College and Applications

  355. Where Do You Want to Go to College?
  356. What Are Your Sources for Information About Colleges and Universities?
  357. Is College Overrated?
  358. How Much Does the SAT or ACT Matter in Your Life?
  359. What Personal Essay Topic Would You Assign to College Applicants?
  360. What Qualities Would You Look For in a College Roommate?
  361. What Would You Do With a Gap Year?
  362. What Makes a Graduation Ceremony Memorable?
  363. How Do You Feel About Proms?

  364. Work and Careers

  365. What Are Your Longtime Interests or Passions?
  366. Do You Have a Life Calling?
  367. What Do You Want to Do With Your Life?
  368. Do You Think You Will Have a Career That You Love?
  369. What Investment Are You Willing to Make to Get Your Dream Job?
  370. Would You Consider a Nontraditional Occupation?
  371. Would You Want to Be a Teacher?
  372. What Hidden Talents Might You Have?
  373. What Do You Hope to Be Doing the Year After You Graduate From College?
  374. Would You Rather Work From Home or in an Office?
  375. What Career or Technical Classes Do You Wish Your School Offered?
  376. What ‘Back-to-the-Land’ Skills Do You Have, or Wish You Had?
  377. What Have You Made Yourself?
  378. What Would You Create if You Had Funding?
  379. How Did You Start Doing Something You Love?
  380. Did You Ever Take a Break From Doing Something You Love?
  381. What Have You Done to Earn Money?
  382. Do You Have a Job?
  383. Would You Quit if Your Values Did Not Match Your Employer’s?
  384. What Are Your Attitudes Toward Money?
  385. Can Money Buy You Happiness?
  386. Where Do You See Yourself in 10 Years?
  387. What Do You Want to Be Doing When You’re 80?
  388. Do You Want to Live to 100?
  389. What Do You Want Your Obituary to Say?

  390. Dating and Friendship

  391. Have You Ever Been in Love?
  392. What Are the Most Meaningful Relationships in Your Life?
  393. What Advice Would You Give to Somebody Who Just Started Dating?
  394. What Are the Basic ‘Rules’ for Handling Breakups?
  395. What Are Your Beliefs About Marriage?
  396. Are You Allowed to Date?
  397. Is Dating a Thing of the Past?
  398. Do You Have a Best Friend?
  399. How Do You Feel About Introducing Friends from Different Parts of Your Life?
  400. How Should You Handle the End of a Friendship?
  401. How Often Do You Have ‘Deep Discussions’?

  402. Sports, Exercise and Games

  403. Do You Like to Exercise?
  404. How Has Exercise Changed Your Health, Your Body or Your Life?
  405. Why Do You Play Sports?
  406. What Is the Most Memorable Sporting Event You’ve Ever Watched or Played In?
  407. What’s the Most Impressive Sports Moment You’ve Seen?
  408. When Has a Sports Team Most Disappointed You?
  409. What Sports Teams Do You Root For?
  410. Does Being a Fan Help Define Who You Are?
  411. How Far Would You Go to Express Loyalty to Your Favorite Teams?
  412. What Fan Memorabilia Would You Pay Big Bucks For?
  413. What Rules Would You Like to See Changed in Your Favorite Sports?
  414. What Game Would You Like to Redesign?
  415. What Are Your Favorite Games?

  416. Travel

  417. Where in the World Would You Travel if You Could?
  418. What Is Your Fantasy Vacation?
  419. What Would Your Fantasy Road Trip Be Like?
  420. What Crazy Adventure Would You Want to Take?
  421. How Has Travel Affected You?
  422. What Famous Landmarks Have You Visited?
  423. What’s the Coolest Thing You’ve Ever Seen in Nature?
  424. What Are the Best Souvenirs You’ve Ever Collected While Traveling?
  425. Would You Like to Live in Another Country?
  426. Would You Want to Be a Space Tourist?

  427. Looks, Fashion and Health

Updated, March 2, 2017 | We published an updated version of this list, “401 Prompts for Argumentative Writing,” as well as a companion piece, “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing.”

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If anything ever published on The Learning Network could be said to have “gone viral,” it is last February’s “200 Prompts for Argumentative Writing,” which we created to help teachers and students participate in our inaugural Student Editorial Contest.

We’ve now updated last year’s list with new questions and what we hope is more useful categorization.

So scroll through the 301 prompts below that touch on every aspect of contemporary life — from politics to sports, culture, education and technology — and see which ones most inspire you to take a stand. Each question comes from our daily Student Opinion feature, and each provides links to free Times resources for finding more information.

What issues do you care about most? Find something to write about here, or post a comment if you think we’ve missed a topic you would like to see us cover.

And if these 301 questions aren’t enough, the Room for Debate blog provides many, many more.


    TECHNOLOGY

    Technology

  1. Does Technology Make Us More Alone?
  2. Are You Distracted by Technology?
  3. Do Apps Help You or Just Waste Your Time?
  4. Do You Spend Too Much Time on Smartphones Playing ‘Stupid Games’?
  5. Will Wearable Technology Ever Really Catch On?
  6. Are Digital Photographs Too Plentiful to Be Meaningful?
  7. Do You Worry We Are Filming Too Much?
  8. Would You Want a Pair of Google’s Computer Glasses?
  9. What Role Will Robots Play in Our Future?
  10. How Many Text Messages Are Too Many?

  11. Internet and Social Media

  12. Has Facebook Lost Its Edge?
  13. Does Facebook Ever Make You Feel Bad?
  14. Would You Consider Deleting Your Facebook Account?
  15. Should What You Say on Facebook Be Grounds for Getting Fired?
  16. Should People Be Allowed to Obscure Their Identities Online?
  17. How Much Do You Trust Online Reviews?

  18. Technology in Schools

  19. Are the Web Filters at Your School Too Restrictive?
  20. Do Your Teachers Use Technology Well?
  21. Should Tablet Computers Become the Primary Way Students Learn in Class?
  22. Can Cellphones Be Educational Tools?
  23. Should Computer Games Be Used for Classroom Instruction?
  24. Is Online Learning as Good as Face-to-Face Learning?
  25. How Would You Feel About a Computer Grading Your Essays?

  26. ART, FILM, BOOKS, VIDEO GAMES AND OTHER MEDIA

    Movies, TV and Theater

  27. Is TV Stronger Than Ever, or Becoming Obsolete?
  28. Do TV Shows Like ‘16 and Pregnant’ Promote or Discourage Teenage Pregnancy?
  29. Does Reality TV Promote Dangerous Stereotypes?
  30. Does TV Capture the Diversity of America Yet?
  31. Is TV Too White?
  32. Why Do We Like to Watch Rich People on TV and in the Movies?
  33. What Makes a Good TV Show Finale?
  34. What Makes a Good Commercial?
  35. Why Did a Cheerios Ad Attract So Many Angry Comments Online?
  36. What Were the Best Movies You Saw in the Past Year?
  37. Does Live Theater Offer Something You Just Can’t Get Watching Movies or TV?

  38. Music

  39. What Can You Predict About the Future of the Music Industry?
  40. What Current Musicians Do You Think Will Stand the Test of Time?
  41. What Artists or Bands of Today Are Destined for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
  42. What Artists Do You Consider ‘Sellouts’?
  43. What Musician, Actor or Author Should Be a Superstar, but Hasn’t Quite Made It Yet?
  44. Who Does Hip-Hop Belong To?
  45. Will Musical Training Make You More Successful?

  46. Video Games

  47. Should Video Games Be Considered a Sport?
  48. Should Stores Sell Violent Video Games to Minors?
  49. Do Violent Video Games Make People More Violent in Real Life?
  50. When Should You Feel Guilty for Killing Zombies?
  51. Can a Video Game Be a Work of Art?
  52. What Game Would You Like to Redesign?
  53. How Sexist Is the Gaming World?

  54. Literature

  55. Would You Trade Your Paper Books for Digital Versions?
  56. Does Reading a Book Count More Than Listening to One?
  57. To What Writer Would You Award a Prize?
  58. Who Are the Characters That Authors Should Be Writing About?
  59. Do You Prefer Your Children’s Book Characters Obedient or Contrary?

  60. Art

  61. Can Graffiti Ever Be Considered Art?
  62. Do We Need Art in Our Lives?
  63. Does Pop Culture Deserve Serious Study?
  64. Where Is the Line Between Truth and Fiction?
  65. Should Society Support Artists and Others Pursuing Creative Works?

  66. GENDER AND RELATIONSHIPS

    Gender Issues

  67. Do Parents Have Different Hopes and Standards for Their Sons Than for Their Daughters?
  68. Is School Designed More for Girls Than Boys?
  69. Is There Too Much Pressure on Girls to Have ‘Perfect’ Bodies?
  70. How Much Pressure Do Boys Face to Have the Perfect Body?
  71. Do Photoshopped Images Make You Feel Bad About Your Own Looks?
  72. Doctored Photos: O.K. or Not?
  73. Is It O.K. for Men and Boys to Comment on Women and Girls on the Street?
  74. Do We Need New Ways to Identify Gender and Sexuality?
  75. What Should We Do to Fight Sexual Violence Against Young Women?
  76. How Do You Feel About Rihanna and Chris Brown Getting Back Together?
  77. Why Aren’t There More Girls in Leadership Roles?
  78. Why Aren’t More Girls Choosing to Pursue Careers in Math and Science?
  79. Should Women Be Allowed to Fight on the Front Lines Alongside Men?
  80. Do You Believe in Equal Rights for Women and Men?
  81. Are Women Better at Compromising and Collaborating?
  82. Do Boys Have Less Intense Friendships Than Girls?
  83. Can a Boy Wear a Skirt to School?
  84. Is It O.K. to Refuse to Serve Same-Sex Couples Based on Religious Beliefs?

  85. Dating and Sex

  86. Should Birth Control Pills Be Available to Teenage Girls Without a Prescription?
  87. Should the Morning-After Pill Be Sold Over the Counter to People Under 17?
  88. How Should Children Be Taught About Puberty and Sex?
  89. Is Dating a Thing of the Past?
  90. Is Hookup Culture Leaving Your Generation Unhappy and Unprepared for Love?
  91. Should Couples Live Together Before Marriage?
  92. Could Following These Directions Make You Fall in Love With a Stranger?
  93. How Should Educators and Legislators Deal With Minors Who ‘Sext’?
  94. How Should Parents Address Internet Pornography?

  95. SPORTS AND ATHLETICS

    Football

  96. If Football Is So Dangerous to Players, Should We Be Watching It?
  97. Should Parents Let Their Children Play Football?
  98. Should College Football Players Get Paid?
  99. Is It Offensive for Sports Teams to Use Native American Names and Mascots?

  100. Sportsmanship

  101. Are Some Youth Sports Too Intense?
  102. Should There Be Stricter Rules About How Coaches Treat Their Players?
  103. Do Sports Teams Have a Responsibility to Hold Players to a Standard for Their Personal Conduct?
  104. Should Athletes Who Dope Have to Forfeit Their Titles and Medals?
  105. Do Fans Put Too Much Pressure on Their Favorite Professional Athletes?
  106. Does a Championship Game Always Need to Have a Winner (and a Loser)?
  107. Should Sports Betting Be Legal Everywhere?
  108. Should Colleges Fund Wellness Programs Instead of Sports?
  109. Where Should Colleges and Sports Teams Draw the Line in Selling Naming Rights?

  110. Other Sports

  111. Has Baseball Lost Its Cool?
  112. Is Cheerleading a Sport?
  113. How Big a Deal Is It That an N.B.A. Player Came Out as Gay?
  114. Would You Want a Bike Share Program for Your Community?
  115. How Young Is Too Young to Climb Mount Everest?

  116. POLITICS AND POLICY

    Government

  117. Do You Trust Your Government?
  118. If You Were Governor of Your State, How Would You Spend a Budget Surplus?
  119. What Local Problems Do You Think Your Mayor Should Try to Solve?
  120. Should Rich People Have to Pay More Taxes?
  121. What Is More Important: Our Privacy or National Security?

  122. Leadership and Politics

  123. Do Leaders Have Moral Obligations?
  124. Do Great Leaders Have to Be Outgoing?
  125. Is It Principled, or Irresponsible, for Politicians to Threaten a Shutdown?

  126. International Relations

  127. Should the U.S. Be Spying on Its Friends?
  128. When Is the Use of Military Force Justified?
  129. Should Countries Pay Ransoms to Free Hostages Held by Terrorists?

  130. Police, Prisons and Justice System

  131. Should the United States Stop Using the Death Penalty?
  132. When Should Juvenile Offenders Receive Life Sentences?
  133. What Do You Think of the Police Tactic of Stop-and-Frisk?
  134. Do Rich People Get Off Easier When They Break the Law?
  135. Should All Police Officers Wear Body Cameras?
  136. Will What Happened in Ferguson Change Anything?
  137. Should Felons Be Allowed to Vote After They Have Served Their Time?

  138. Gun Policy

  139. How Should We Prevent Future Mass Shootings?
  140. Would You Feel Safer With Armed Guards Patrolling Your School?
  141. What Is Your Relationship With Guns?
  142. Where Do You Stand on Unconcealed Handguns?
  143. Should Guns Be Permitted on College Campuses?
  144. Did a Newspaper Act Irresponsibly by Publishing the Addresses of Gun Owners?

  145. Immigration

  146. Should Millions of Undocumented Immigrants Be Allowed to Live in the U.S. Without Fear of Getting Deported?
  147. Are Children of Illegal Immigrants Entitled to a Public Education?

  148. PARENTS AND FAMILIES

    Parenting and Childhood

  149. How Much Freedom Should Parents Give Their Children?
  150. How Should Parents Discipline Their Kids?
  151. When Does Discipline Become Child Abuse?
  152. Do ‘Shame and Blame’ Work to Change Teenage Behavior?
  153. Do We Give Children Too Many Trophies?
  154. Are Adults Hurting Young Children by Pushing Them to Achieve?
  155. Is Modern Culture Ruining Childhood?
  156. How, and by Whom, Should Children Be Taught Appropriate Behavior?
  157. Are ‘Dark’ Movies O.K. for Kids?
  158. Should Halloween Costumes Portray Only ‘Positive Images’?
  159. Are Parents Violating Their Children’s Privacy When They Share Photos and Videos of Them Online?
  160. Should Children Be Allowed to Compete on TV?
  161. How Young Is Too Young for an iPhone?
  162. Should Parents Limit How Much Time Children Spend on Tech Devices?

  163. Parents and School

  164. How Should Parents Handle a Bad Report Card?
  165. How Important Are Parent-Teacher Conferences?
  166. Who Should Be Able to See Students’ Records?
  167. Would You Want to Be Home-Schooled?
  168. Should All Children Be Able to Go to Preschool?

  169. House and Home

  170. How Important Is Keeping a Clean House?
  171. Does Keeping a Messy Desk Make People More Creative?

  172. Millennial Generation

  173. What Can Older People Learn From Your Generation?
  174. Does Your Generation Have Too Much Self-Esteem?
  175. Is Your Generation Really ‘Postracial’?

  176. Becoming an Adult

  177. When Do You Become an Adult?
  178. When Should You Be Able to Buy Cigarettes, Drink Alcohol, Vote, Drive and Fight in Wars?
  179. When You Are Old Enough to Vote, Will You?

  180. CHARACTER AND MORALITY

    Personal Character

  181. Can Money Buy You Happiness?
  182. Does Buying and Accumulating More and More Stuff Make Us Happier?
  183. Are We Losing the Art of Listening?
  184. Do People Complain Too Much?
  185. Which Is More Important: Talent or Hard Work?
  186. How Important Is Keeping Your Cool?
  187. When Should You Compromise?
  188. Is Your Generation More Self-Centered Than Earlier Generations?

  189. Religion and Spirituality

  190. Do You Believe That Everything Happens for a Reason?
  191. How Much Control Do You Think You Have Over Your Fate?
  192. Can You Be Good Without God?
  193. How Important Do You Think It Is to Marry Someone With the Same Religion?

  194. Morality and Personal Responsibility

  195. Does Suffering Make Us Stronger and Lead to Success?
  196. Do Bystanders Have a Responsibility to Intervene When There is Trouble?
  197. When Is Looting Morally O.K.?
  198. Can Kindness Become Cool?

  199. Language and Standards

  200. Have Curse Words Become So Common They Have Lost Their Shock Value?
  201. What Words or Phrases Do You Think Are Overused?
  202. What Words or Phrases Should Be Retired?
  203. Do Laws That Ban Offensive Words Make the World a Better Place?
  204. Should Newspapers Reprint Cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad That Some Deem Offensive?
  205. Is It Wrong for a Newspaper to Publish a Front-Page Photo of a Man About to Die?

  206. EDUCATION

    Teaching and Learning

  207. Do Teachers Assign Too Much Homework?
  208. Does Your Homework Help You Learn?
  209. What Are You Really Learning at School?
  210. Does Class Size Matter?
  211. Do We Need a New Way to Teach Math?
  212. Does Gym Help Students Perform Better in All Their Classes?
  213. Should Reading and Math Be Taught in Gym Class Too?
  214. What Are the Best Ways to Learn About History?
  215. What Is the Right Amount of Group Work in School?
  216. What Do You Think of Grouping Students by Ability in Schools?
  217. How Important Is Arts Education?
  218. Do Schools Provide Students With Enough Opportunities to Be Creative?
  219. Does the Way Your Classroom Is Decorated Affect Your Learning?

  220. Discipline and School Rules

  221. What Are the Best Teaching Methods for Getting Students to Behave Well in Class?
  222. How Does Your School Deal With Students Who Misbehave?
  223. Should Schools Be Allowed to Use Corporal Punishment?
  224. Is Cheating Getting Worse?
  225. Should Schools Put Tracking Devices in Students’ ID Cards?
  226. Should Middle School Students Be Drug Tested?
  227. Should Students Be Barred From Taking Cellphones to School?

  228. Bullying

  229. How Big a Problem Is Bullying or Cyberbullying in Your School or Community?
  230. How Should Schools Address Bullying?
  231. How Should Schools Address Cyberbullying?
  232. What Should the Punishment Be for Acts of Cyberbullying?
  233. When Do Pranks Cross the Line to Become Bullying?
  234. How Should Schools Respond to Hazing Incidents?

  235. Time in School

  236. Should the School Day Start Later?
  237. Is Your School Day Too Short?
  238. Do You Think a Longer School Calendar Is a Good Idea?
  239. Should the Dropout Age Be Raised?
  240. Should We Rethink How Long Students Spend in High School?
  241. Should Students Be Allowed to Skip Senior Year of High School?
  242. Should Kids Head to College Early?
  243. Class Time + Substitute = Waste?
  244. Do Kids Need Recess?

  245. Grading

  246. Should Students Be Able to Grade Their Teachers?
  247. Does Your School Hand Out Too Many A’s?
  248. Do Girls Get Better Grades Than Boys in Your School?
  249. Does Separating Boys and Girls Help Students Perform Better in School?
  250. Why Do Boys Lag Behind Girls in Reading?
  251. Should Discomfort Excuse Students From Having to Complete an Assignment?

  252. Standardized Tests

  253. How Well Do You Think Standardized Tests Measure Your Abilities?
  254. How Seriously Should We Take Standardized Tests?
  255. Do You Spend Too Much Time Preparing for Standardized Tests?
  256. Should Schools Offer Cash Bonuses for Good Test Scores?

  257. School Life

  258. Would You Rather Attend a Public or a Private High School?
  259. How Much Does It Matter to You Which High School You Attend?
  260. Are Small Schools More Effective Than Large Schools?
  261. Should Home-Schoolers Be Allowed to Play Public School Sports?
  262. Should All Students Get Equal Space in a Yearbook?
  263. Should School Newspapers Be Subject to Prior Review?
  264. Is Prom Worth It?
  265. Is Prom Just an Excuse to Drink?

  266. COLLEGE AND CAREER

    College

  267. How Necessary Is a College Education?
  268. Is College Overrated?
  269. Should a College Education be Free?
  270. What Is the Perfect Number of College Applications to Send?
  271. Should Colleges Find a Better Way to Admit Students?
  272. Should Colleges Use Admissions Criteria Other Than SAT Scores and Grades?
  273. Do You Support Affirmative Action in College Admissions?
  274. Does It Matter Where You Go to College?
  275. Do College Rankings Matter?
  276. What Criteria Should Be Used in Awarding Scholarships for College?
  277. Should Engineers Pay Less for College Than English Majors?
  278. Do Fraternities Promote Misogyny?
  279. Should Colleges Ban Fraternities?

  280. Jobs and Careers

  281. Would You Quit if Your Values Did Not Match Your Employer’s?
  282. Should Employers Be Able to Review Job Applicants’ SAT Scores?
  283. Do You Worry Colleges or Employers Might Read Your Social Media Posts Someday?
  284. Would You Rather Work From Home or in an Office?
  285. Is ‘Doing Nothing’ a Good Use of Your Time?

  286. HEALTH AND NUTRITION

    Drugs, Cigarettes and Alcohol

  287. Is Smoking Still a Problem Among Teenagers?
  288. Are Antismoking Ads Effective?
  289. Is Drinking and Driving Still a Problem for Teenagers?
  290. Should Marijuana Be Legal?
  291. Should Students Be Required to Take Drug Tests?
  292. Why Is Binge Drinking So Common Among Young People in the United States?

  293. Nutrition and Food

  294. Do You Think a Healthier School Lunch Program Is a Lost Cause?
  295. Should French Fries and Pizza Sauce Count as Vegetables?
  296. How Concerned Are You About Where Your Food Comes From?
  297. Is It Ethical to Eat Meat?
  298. Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?
  299. Do You Prefer Your Tacos ‘Authentic’ or ‘Appropriated’?
  300. Should Sugary Drinks Be Taxed?
  301. Should the Government Limit the Size of Sugary Drinks?

  302. Health Issues

  303. How Should Schools Handle Unvaccinated Students?
  304. Should Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal in Every State?
  305. Should Texting While Driving Be Illegal in Every State?
  306. Should Terminally Ill Patients Be Allowed to Die on Their Own Terms?

  307. Appearance and Fashion

  308. Should Children Be Allowed to Wear Whatever They Want?
  309. What Are Your Opinions on Cosmetic Surgery?
  310. Do ‘Saggy Pants’ Mean Disrespect?
  311. Should You Care About the Health and Safety of Those Making Your Clothing?

  312. SCIENCE TOPICS

    Science and the Environment

  313. How Concerned Are You About Climate Change?
  314. How Should Nations and Individuals Address Climate Change?
  315. Should Developers Be Allowed to Build in and Near the Grand Canyon?
  316. Should Scientists Try to Help People Beat Old Age So We Can Live Longer Lives?
  317. Given Unlimited Resources, What Scientific or Medical Problem Would You Investigate?
  318. When Is It O.K. to Replace Human Limbs With Technology?
  319. Should Fertilized Eggs Be Given Legal ‘Personhood’?

  320. Outer Space

  321. Do You Think Life Exists — or Has Ever Existed — Somewhere Besides Earth?
  322. Do You Believe in Intelligent Alien Life?
  323. Will Humans Live on Mars Someday?
  324. Would You Want to Be a Space Tourist?

  325. Animals

  326. Should Certain Animals Have Some of the Same Legal Rights As People?
  327. Is It Unethical for a Zoo to Kill a Healthy Giraffe?
  328. Should You Go to Jail for Kicking a Cat?
  329. Should You Feel Guilty About Killing Spiders, Ants or Other Bugs?
  330. How Do You Think Dinosaurs Went Extinct?

  331. MISCELLANEOUS

    Rich and Famous

  332. Should the Private Lives of Famous People Be Off Limits?
  333. Do You Think Child Stars Have It Rough?

  334. American Dream

  335. Should the United States Care That It’s Not No. 1?
  336. Is It Possible to Start Out Poor in This Country, Work Hard and Become Well-Off?
  337. Do Poor People ‘Have It Easy’?
  338. How Much Does Your Neighborhood Define Who You Are?

  339. Charity and Philanthropy

  340. Should Charities Focus More on America?
  341. What Causes Should Philanthropic Groups Finance?
  342. Is Teenage ‘Voluntourism’ Wrong?

  343. Shopping

  344. Do You Shop at Locally Owned Businesses?
  345. Is Amazon Becoming Too Powerful?
  346. Should Companies Collect Information About You?
  347. What Time Should Black Friday Sales Start?
  348. How Long Is It O.K. to Linger in a Cafe or Restaurant?

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