8th graders can learn so much in class, but there is also so much that they can learn on their own. These days teachers have the tendency to get students to try to think outside the box, get them to reason on their own and come up with ideas for their research papers. This is a good thing because first of all it helps the students to think clearly about what they want to write about, and how they want to proceed with the task they are working on. This gets them to understand what topics are all about, and how to create a good one. Not everything that you think about can always turn out to be a good topic, but if you think hard and clearly, you can have your way with whatever idea that you want.
For writing an expository essay, it is important to understand first of all the structure of the paper that you are supposed to work on. In as far as the structure is concerned there is the fact that you need to look into things like the introduction of your paper and the conclusion of the essay. In so many cases these are the most important things that students tend to forget about at this level. You should not just jump to the paper and start writing, you need to plan out everything, organize your thoughts and introduce the reader into your work. Give them a primer on what you are working on and why and then from there you can proceed with the rest of the work.
Here are some simple examples:
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