Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

The Million Dollar Question

Informative Writing

Lisa Loughlin, Teresa Lansford | Published: March 28th, 2022 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 9th
  • Subject Subject English/Language Arts
  • Course Course
  • Time Frame Time Frame 250 minutes
  • Duration More 5 periods


This informative writing lesson explores what informative writing is, how it differs from other modes of writing, and how to apply that new knowledge. This lesson is perfect for introducing informative writing, assessing what students have learned about informative writing during instruction, and evaluating what students have learned at the end of instruction.

Essential Question(s)

What makes informative writing different from other writing modes? How do writers effectively share information?



Students engage in a card matching activity to analyze different writing modes and determine the characteristics of each.


Students watch a video interview about an expensive product and record the types of questions asked in an informational interview.


Students select a "million dollar" item from a choice board to research, outline, and write about.


Students interview one another in the same style as the video they watched in order to share their information with a partner.


Students engage in the "I Used to Think… but Now I Know" activity to reflect on what they have learned about informative writing.


  • Internet access

  • Student devices

  • Printer access (optional)

  • Smart board/projector access

  • Notebook paper

  • Note cards or sticky notes (optional)

  • Copy paper

  • Pens/pencils

  • Timer (optional)

  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Writing Style Card Matching Handout (attached; 1 set per group)

  • Choice Board Handout (attached; passed out digitally)

  • Research Note Catcher (attached; 1 per student)

  • Million Dollar Question Q&A Rubric (attached; 1 per student)


8 Minute(s)

Using the Lesson Slides, display slide 2 to introduce the lesson. Review the Essential Question on slide 3 before transitioning to slide 4 to review the Lesson Objectives.

Place students in small groups of 2-3. Transition to slide 5 and explain the Card Matching directions. Give each group a packet of shuffled cards to match by writing mode. Set timer for 3 minutes and ask students to sort the cards correctly.

After all groups have finished, review the correct answers with students. Ask students to justify their reasoning.

Transition to slide 6. Review the guiding questions by facilitating a class discussion.

Transition to slide 7 to view the circle diagram. Highlight the clear differences among the three modes of writing listed. Reiterate the definition of informative writing.


15 Minute(s)

Display slide 8. Students need notebook paper and something to write with. Explain that they will watch a clip from "Most Expensivest with 2 Chainz." The interview is a Q&A about expensive BBQ grills. Before starting the video, instruct students to write down all of the questions that 2 Chainz asks as they watch the interview. They will refer to these questions later when interviewing one another. The reason for showing this interview is to illustrate what kinds of questions that should be asked when the purpose is to inform.

Review the questions that they heard 2 Chainz asking. Which questions did they think were better? Which elicited the most information?


150 Minute(s)

Transition to the Choice Board on slide 9. Ask the following question: If you had a million dollars and you could have any of the choices on this list, which would you pick? Each item on the Choice Board is linked to a website that shows some potential ideas for million-dollar items. You can explore these as a class or assign the Choice Board digitally for students to click on and explore.

Have students select an item, but before they start researching, review the writing assignment described on slides 10 and 11.

Move to slide 10 to discuss what questions they will be answering in their 5-paragraph essay about their chosen item. Explain that students should be using credible sources; however, credible sources may look different in different modes of writing.

Transition to slide 11 to show an outline for the 5-paragraph essay.

Pass out the Research Note Catcher or have students write their information and sources on a Google Doc or a sheet of notebook paper. Make sure that they record all sources on the back of their paper. Allow students 15-20 minutes to research their item in depth. Add additional time or limit it as needed.

Students should be given time to research until they can answer the questions listed on the Research Note Catcher. The questions are also listed on slides 10 and 11.


30 Minute(s)

Once students have completed their research, display slide 12. Place students in groups of 2. Individual students will be interviewed by their partner about their chosen item. Pass out copies of the Q&A Rubric to students. Use the guiding questions from the essay and 2 Chainz’ interview questions as a guide.


5 Minute(s)

After students have finished, have submitted their essays, and completed their interviews, display slide 13. Ask students to reflect on what they learned about informative writing using the I Used to Think… But Now I Know strategy. Ask students: What did think informative writing was? Then ask: What do you know about informative writing now? Have them record their answers on a piece of paper. Use their responses as a formative assessment and to identify any misconceptions that may remain.