I have used this assignment with both 6th and 7th graders, but it could be adapted for 8th or 9th grade as well. It provides some suggested persuasive writing topics (non-political and non-religious in nature), but you could allow students to expand from those options. Students are required to find at least 3 research sources (1 per body paragraph), and learn to use MLA in-text parenthetical citations and how to write an MLA bibliography.
It also includes a propaganda/media requirement and for students to present their essay and propaganda to the class in an oral presentation (I have my students read their essays as they would speeches, but not memorize them). The oral presentation component targets many of the speaking & listening common core standards for middle grades.
This pdf includes:
Assignment Sheet with expectations for each piece of the assignment & space for writing in due dates
Outline printable pages for students to use to write essay outline
Essay Revision tasks
Essay Self-and-Peer Editing Checklist
Checklists for students to use before turning in their final assignment
Rubric for grading, with criteria broken down into the 6 writing traits + propaganda + presentation
My other writing assignment bundles and individual rubrics from those bundles may be purchased from my TPT store at https:www.teacherspayteachers.com/The-Margaret-Ann