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Balch Springs Library-Learning Center

Teens: Homework Help

GCF Learn Free: Pre-Algebra & Algebra

Simple walk-throughs with examples and video tutorials.
Ages 13+

Khan Academy

Easy-to-follow tutorial videos with practice points along the way. Subjects include: 
Algebra I
Algebra II
- High School Geometry
- High School Statistics
and many others!
Ages 15+

Mathway: Algebra Solver

This free algebra solver helps verify that you've arrived at the correct answer. Mathway also has a pre-algebra, trigonometry, and statistics solver.

Desmos: Equation Grapher

Free easy-to-use graphing website allows you to enter as many equations as you'd like and graph them. Simple controls let you quickly identify points.

View the 2021 Lone Star Reading List

If you need help with an essay or research paper, please view the Research Help section.

Teen Ink

Teen Ink offers some of the most thoughtful and creative work generated by teens around the world. The site gives them an opportunity to publish their creative work and opinions on issues that affect their lives. Write, read, and view works by young authors and artists!

NaNoWriMo: Young Writers Program

A creative writing tool for young authors who dream of writing a novel. Set a daily writing word count goal, and receive guidance from published authors and other writers along the way to your master piece!

Writing Guides available for check-out

A Guide To Argumentative Writing

Poem Making: Ways to Begin Writing Poetry

If you need resources for a school essay, please view the Research Help section.

Khan Academy: U.S. History

U.S. history covered in about 50-year segments, beginning in 1491 (before the arrival of colonists) to present-day America. In-depth video lessons cover pre-Civil war, the Civil war, the Reconstruction Era, and beyond.

Khan Academy: U.S. Government & Civics

Video lessons covering democracy & voter participation, the Constitution & Amendments, modern politics, and more.

Khan Academy: World History

Learn about man's early history discovering farming to the rise of the first empires all the way to WWII. You can continue your trek through mankind's history in part II of Khan Academy's World History Project.

Library books on American History 

If you're looking for American history books about women, African Americans, regional history, or any others, please view the link above!

If you need help writing a research paper, please view the Research Help section.

Khan Academy: Biology

Video topics include: cells, energy, genetics, ecology, and more!

GeoInquiries: Earth Science

Earth science activities that cover a range of topics like rock types, tectonic plates, and climates. Each activity includes a downloadable instruction sheet, and each set of instructions includes a link for an interactive lesson.

Colorado University: Physics Simulations Library

Over 100 laboratory simulations! These labs help you visualize physics concepts such as kinematic motion, electric charge, light and more.

Khan Academy: Physics

Video topics include: Newton's Laws of Motion, work & energy, angular motion, waves, and electricity. Practice exercises are included to test your knowledge and make sure you're ready for real school assignments!

You CAN write your paper with a little help. Below, we list 4 steps along with short videos (each less than 5 mins) that will help you complete the step.
Step 1: Choose Your Topic
Step 2: Research & Create An Outline
Step 3: Write Your Essay
Step 4: Review & Edit
We use Credo Reference Center for our research.

Step 1: Choose Your Topic

Think about 2 or 3 topics you might want to write about.

For each topic, do a light search on the topic to see what information is already available on the topic. For this light search, you can use Credo or Encyclopedia Britannica. You can even Google the topic just see how it is being discussed in the world. However, much of the information from a Google search will not qualify as a valid source.

As you look at the search results, write down 3 - 5 interesting points or questions (depending on the essay requirements) that are related to your topic.

Look over each topic you've lightly researched.
Choose the topic that you feel most confident about further researching and writing about (likely the one with the strongest points). 
Decide your thesis statement: What is the main point you want to get across to your reader?

Step 2: Research & Create An Outline

Your outline will have 3 parts:

Let's talk about each part of those parts.

Introduction: List the main point you're making and the 3 - 5 supporting points you'll be discussing during your paper. This outlines your first paragraph.

Body: Each of the 3 - 5 points you'll be making will be its own paragraph in the body of your essay. Under each point, list 2 or 3 sub-points.
Your sub-points will be found while researching your topic. Search and read academic articles (you can use Credo) to generate your sub-points. Be sure to bookmark your sources if you need to create a citation page. Your sub-points should support the paragraph's point.

Watch this short video about how to research:

Watch this video about using appropriate information sources:

Conclusion: List why your main point matters. List how your 3 -5 points tie together. 

Step 3: Write Your Essay

Now that your outline is done, you're ready to start writing your essay!

Let's start with your Introduction paragraph.

Introduction: The three parts of an introduction are 1) background information, 2) your hook (or explanation of the question your essay will answer), and 3) introduction of your essay's main point (your thesis statement)

Watch this video about writing your Introduction paragraph

After your introduction paragraph, we can move on to the Body of your essay.

Body: Your outline lists 3 -5 points that support your main idea. Each of these points will be the topic sentence (the first sentence) of a paragraph. After each topic sentence, expand on that topic with 2 or 3 sub-points you listed in your outline.

Watch this video about writing the Body of your essay

Now that the body of your essay is complete, let's write your Conclusion.

Conclusion: Your conclusion should 1) restate your main point (with different wording), 2) summarize your supporting points, and 3) have a concluding statement.

Watch this video about writing your Conclusion

Step 4: Review & Edit

In this last step, you will want to review your paper by reading it out loud.
- Listen for any parts of the essay that sound odd.
- Look for any typos, punctuation problems, and grammatical errors.
- Make sure that your paper fulfills the assignment.
- Is your main point clear? Do your supportive points reinforce your main point?

Watch this video about reviewing your essay

After reviewing and editing your essay, it is helpful to have someone else read it and give you feedback. Ask a parent, a trusted adult, or even a librarian! We are happy to help you with your writing assignment.

Here are some other useful links for writing your essay: - Don't get stuck using the same word over and over again. Use a thesaurus to add variety to your essay's wording!

Credo Reference - If you need reputable sources for information, Credo is a great tool! They have millions of academic articles and they make citation easy for your Citations page.

We encourage you to also stop by the library and check out the college preparation books we have!
You can search our catalog here.

TexShare: SAT Prep

Reading, writing, math, and essay preparation. Tutorials with practice tests. Access to this service is free for Balch Springs Library cardholders.

Khan Academy: SAT Prep

Sign-up is free with a valid email address. Khan Academy starts you off with an assessment test to pinpoint areas you need to focus on. They will also create a practice test schedule for you based on your official test date--making sure you're ready for your test in time!

TexShare: ACT Prep

English, math, and science preparation. Tutorials with practice tests. Access to this service is free for Balch Springs Library cardholders.