Descriptive Writing Prompt: Guess Which Zoo Animal?

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Here’s a popular writing assignment we give in one of our middle school courses:

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Think of an animal that you might see in a zoo: a gorilla, a zebra, a chimpanzee. Your assignment is to describe that animal without giving away the kind of animal it is. You should do such a great job of painting the picture that your reader can guess.

Specific details matter here. You might even want to find a picture of your animal and study it carefully so you can be as accurate as possible.

Don’t forget that animals move. You are describing this animal as it might appear in a zoo. It doesn’t have to be standing perfectly still. Show it in motion. What might this animal be doing? It’s not cheating to say it’s swinging from a tree branch (That would definitely rule out elephant and alligator).

And remember that the goal isn’t just to give enough clues. It’s also to write well. Vary your sentences. Use colorful, interesting words. Use creative metaphors, similes, or other figures of speech (If you don’t know what those things are, look them up!).

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Please leave your comments and questions below!

About the Author

Brian Wasko

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of WriteAtHome.com. One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

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