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Essay Writing Using STEM

Open to: Grades 4 and up

Eligibility: CTY-level or Advanced CTY-level math or verbal score required

Prerequisites: Successful completion of Vocabulary, Grammar, and Writing Using STEM, Advanced or placement test

Course Format: Session BasedSee calendar for session dates and application deadlines.

Course Length: 12 weeks (Early Fall, Late Fall, Winter, Spring, Early Summer, Mid-Summer)

Course Code: ELDW

Course Description


CTY’s online English language development courses are challenging, above-grade-level courses designed for students in grades 3 and up who seek to enhance their English writing skills with the emphasis on building strong grammar and vocabulary. These courses advance each student’s English academic content language in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math for academic writing in those areas.

Essay Writing Using STEM course is designed for both native and non-native English speakers. This course is open to students who have either successfully completed Vocabulary, Grammar, and Writing Using STEM, Intermediate II, or have approximately seven to ten years of exposure to the English Language.

Essay Writing Using STEM is designed to improve and augment students’ essay writing abilities through advancing their general and STEM vocabulary and grammar. In this course, students will learn to write effective essays with a focus on the four domains of writing: description, comparison, cause and effect, and classification.

The interactive lessons will give students the opportunity to take risks and have fun while working on improving English grammar, speaking, listening, reading, and composition skills. The virtual classroom includes live audio and video interaction with the instructor and online classmates, interactive whiteboard, multimedia learning materials including games, and other features to enhance online learning.

In thiscourse, students will:

  • Read upper level informational texts in English and practice related vocabulary in multiple facets.
  • Continue to develop linguistic proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
  • Further develop skills for formal academic English writing including different types of essay writing. Students will use these skills to complete writings in 4 domain-specific areas: descriptive, comparison, cause and effect, and classification.
  • Learn CALP (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency) and STEM academic content vocabulary and how to apply terms in various written applications.
  • Acquire better level-specific English abilities by practicing tasks through all language domains.
  • Be able to write effective essays in four domains of writing: descriptive, comparison, cause and effect, and classification.

By the end of this course, students will acquire more STEM concepts, knowledge, and vocabulary. This course will prepare eligible students to take CTY’s online science, engineering, and math courses, as well as Crafting the Essay for English Language Learners. Review course prerequisites carefully prior to enrolling.

In order to determine the placement level for this course, an ELD placement test can be requested from

Materials Needed

Students must purchase a headset with a microphone. A microphone with an on/off switch is recommended.

In addition, the following textbooks are required for this course:

Optional Workbook (NOT Required):

  • Writers Express: A Handbook for Young Writers, Thinkers, and Learners by Dave Kemper, Ruth Nathan, and Patrick Sebranek. 1995.
    ISBN: 0-669-38632-4

Detailed Course Information

Course Details

WeekSTEM TopicEnglish Language Development Topic
1Scientific MethodAn Introduction to Writing Essays
  • Writing an Introduction: Difference Between Topic Sentence and Thesis Statement
  • Body of an Essay
  • Purpose of the Conclusion
Grammar: Grammar review, Articles A/An
2Earth ResourcesProcess Analysis Essay, Part 1
  • What is a Process Analysis Essay?
  • How Is a Process Analysis Essay Organized?
  • Topics for Process Analysis Essays
Grammar: Subject Verb Agreements, Apostrophes, Your/You’re
3Human Impact on the EnvironmentProcess Analysis Essay, Part 2
  • Sample Process Analysis Essay
  • Transitions and Connectors in Process Analysis Essays
Grammar: Modals, Word Parts
4Causes of DiseasesCause and Effect Essay, Part 1
  • What is a Cause and Effect Essay?
  • How Is a Cause and Effect Essay Organized?
  • Topics for Cause and Effect Essays
Grammar: Than/Then, Parallel Comparison,
5Components of BloodCause and Effect Essay, Part 2
  • Sample Cause and Effect Essay
  • Transitions and Connectors in Cause and Effect Essays
6STEM Midterm ReviewMidterm Review
7Biotechnology and Genetic EngineeringArgumentative Essay, Part 1
  • What is an Argumentative Essay?
  • How Is an Argumentative Essay Organized?
  • Topics for Argumentative Essays
Grammar: Preposition Combinations, Verb tenses with if in future tense
8ElectricityArgumentative Essay, Part 2
  • Sample Argumentative Essay
  • Transitions and Connectors in Argumentative Essays
Grammar: Because and Because of, to/too/two
9Properties of Sound and LightNarrative Essay, Part 1
  • What is a Narrative Essay?
  • How Is a Narrative Essay Organized?
  • Topics for Narrative Essays
Grammar: Unclear pronoun usage, expressing past time
10Carbon ChemistryNarrative Essay, Part 2
  • Sample Narrative Essay
  • Transitions and Connectors in Narrative Essays
Grammar: -ly adverbs, we’re/were/where
11Acids and BasesFinal Essay Component Review
Grammar: Suffixes, Review
12Final Review of All STEM TopicsFinal Essay and Final Exam

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Time Required

Students should expect to spend about 5-7 hours per week on this course.


This course requires a properly maintained computer with high-speed internet access and an up-to-date web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox). The student must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.

Zoom online virtual classroom
This course uses an online virtual classroom for discussions with the instructor. The classroom works on standard computers with the Zoom desktop client and also tablets or handhelds that support the Zoom Mobile app. Students who are unable to attend live sessions will need a computer with the Zoom desktop client installed to watch recorded meetings. The Zoom desktop client and Zoom Mobile App are both available for free download.

This course uses Respondus LockDown Browser proctoring software for designated assessments. LockDown Browser is a client application that is installed to a local computer. Visit the Respondus website for system requirements.

While Chromebook can be used to progress through the course, all exams must be completed on a PC or Mac.