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AI and Thesis Builder: The Persuasive Essay


Activity Description


Thesis Builder tool for Persuasive Essay
Source: Thesis Builder tool for Persuasive Essay (License: Protected by Copyright (c) [i.e. screenshot])
Students will be able to write a persuasive essay effectively by selecting a topic, examining both sides of the issue, formulating a clear thesis statement using Tom March Thesis Builder, and revising their essay with assistance from ChatGPT.


  • Play with the input boxes to learn how your words will form the thesis.
  • Learn the rules about not adding a period at the end of the sentence or using capital letters at the beginning.
  • Practice writing prompts for ChatGPT


The steps may be adapted for a computer lab or a one computer/projector classroom.

  1. Demonstrate how to build a thesis by showing the question boxes to students.
  2. Let the students help you fill up the answers by asking them what to write.
  3. Explain that they should not put a period at the end of the answer or a capital letter in the beginning.
  4. Select Build a Thesis to see the first paragraph completed.
  5. Make changes if necessary.
  6. Select Make an Online Outline to start the second and third paragraph.
  7. After completing one set of steps with the students, let them create their own thesis and outline (if you have a computer lab).

Teacher Tips

  • If you teach in a computer/projector classroom, print the box questions (select Print Screen in order to print your screen) and let the students write their answers. Then choose a few students to input their answers in your computer.
  • Project the result to students.

More Ways

  • Check Topic-O-Rama for different topics or to create your own idea.
  • This lesson takes a couple of days to complete.
  • Consider dividing students up into groups of four. Have half the group take one side of the issue and the other side take the opposite side of the issue.
  • Consider a debate as the final project.

Program Areas

  • ASE: High School Equivalency Preparation
  • ASE: High School Diploma
  • ABE: Adult Basic Education


  • Intermediate
  • High

Lesson Plan


Warm-Up (10 minutes):
- Begin by discussing the concept of persuasion with students. Ask them to share examples of persuasive writing they have encountered daily.



Introduction (10 minutes):

- Explain to students that they will learn how to write a persuasive essay.

- Discuss the importance of choosing a compelling topic that allows for a thorough examination of both sides.


Activity 1 - Exploring Persuasive Essay Topics with ChatGPT (20 minutes):

  • Demonstrate how to prompt ChatGPT
  • Instruct students to use ChatGPT to peruse persuasive essay topics. They can ask ChatGPT for suggestions or generate their ideas.
  • Please encourage students to consider a variety of topics and select one that they are passionate about.
Engagement Enhancement

Activity 2 - Considering Both Sides (30 minutes):

  • Have students use ChatGPT to explore arguments for and against their chosen topic.
  • Instruct them to take notes on key points and evidence for each side of the issue.
  • This activity works best when done in small groups

Activity 3 - Formulating a Thesis Statement (30 minutes):

  • Direct students to the Tom March Thesis Builder website.
  • Demonstrate and Guide them through the process of entering their chosen topic and the side they will take on the issue.
  • Have students refine their thesis statements based on the arguments they gathered from both sides.

Activity 4 - Writing the Essay (30 minutes):

  • Instruct students to begin writing their persuasive essays using their thesis statements as a guide.
  • Encourage them to organize their essays logically, presenting evidence and arguments effectively.

Activity 5 - Revision with ChatGPT (20 minutes):

  • Have students ask ChatGPT to review their essays for clarity, coherence, and persuasiveness.
  • Encourage students to consider ChatGPT's feedback and make revisions as necessary.




  • Evaluate students' persuasive essays based on the strength of their arguments, clarity of their thesis statements, organization of their essays, and effectiveness of their persuasion.
  • Have students share their essays with the entire class




  • Assign additional persuasive writing tasks for homework, allowing students to further develop their skills.
  • Encourage students to engage in debates or discussions on their chosen topics to strengthen their understanding of opposing viewpoints


  • Language Arts - Reading
    • Comprehension
  • Language Arts - Writing
    • Language Facility
    • Organization of Ideas
    • Writing Conventions
  • Reading
    • Critical Thinking/Decision Making
  • Reasoning Through Language Arts
    • Essays
  • Writing
    • Paragraph Skills


  • Reading
    • CCR Anchor 1 - Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
    • CCR Anchor 2 - Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
  • Writing
    • CCR Anchor 1 - Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
    • CCR Anchor 2 - Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
    • CCR Anchor 5 - Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
    • CCR Anchor 8 - Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
    • CCR Anchor 9 - Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • Language
    • CCR Anchor 1 - Demonstrate command of the conventions of English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • CCR Anchor 2 - Demonstrate command of the conventions of English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.


writing, essay, GED writing, introduction, main paragraph, march, outline, ozline, paragraph, Persuasive, predictive, statement, thesis, thesis builder, Tom, topic, brainstorm, cause & effect, cause and effect, ELA
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.