For time immemorial, it has been human nature to question our role on the planet, our influence in history, and our purpose in existing.
Your essay will answer those questions either based upon what you feel the answers to be, or upon what someone else feels the answers to be. You could approach this essay from a philosophical point of view or a scientific point of view. If you are writing from a philosophical point of view, you may want to start your essay with an introduction to your point-of-view of where you came from and are going to. This type of essay would be a personal "what is the meaning of life?" essay. If you choose to write from a scientific point of view, you would want to use sources to back up your points. Science textbooks or websites would be good sources to start with.
As with any essay, the introduction introduces the rest of the essay to your readers. Ask yourself a few questions before beginning:
1. Who is my audience? What age/grade level am I writing to?
2. How long does my essay need to be, or how long do I plan on my essay being? Knowing the length will help you narrow down your main points.
Once you have chosen your writing angle (who and what), use your introduction to summarize it before you use the following paragraphs to go into more detail. At the end of your introductory paragraph, put your thesis statement. A thesis statement is the main idea of the essay summarized into one sentence.
Your introduction should be the guiding paragraph in your paper. Remember to start your introduction broad and end your introduction with a specific thesis statement. In this paper you will need to touch on all three prompts...past, present, future...which means your introduction should mimic that pattern. Your thesis statement is the last sentence in your introduction. It tells your reader what you're going to tell them in your paper. So, for example, start your introduction something like this...
Be it the crowded streets of a bustling city or the quiet sidewalks of main street, where we've come from is vitally important. Where we've come from, our past, has brought us to the place we are today. Today, we have hopes and dreams for the future. Our hopes and dreams dictate the path we take in life, they help us make our decisions, and ultimately create our legacy. Without knowing where we've come from and what we're about as a society, or as individuals, we cannot possibly know where we are going.
That last sentence would be my thesis. It is general, but clearly explains to the reader what I'll be discussing in my paper. And I would follow that pattern throughout my paper. First discuss the value of knowing your past, learning from others mistakes, or studying others successes. Then discuss how the past has impacted where you are today. How has the past made you, changed you, or allowed you to be where you are today. Finally, discuss where you are going...as in...what will you contribute to society? What matters to you based on what you have leaned from your past. Maybe education is very important to you, or a strong family, or political causes. Whatever it is, you probably feel that way because of something you have experienced or learned in your past and it has had an effect on you. It has made you who you are today and is forming the decisions you are making for your future. These are types of details you should discuss in the remainder of your paper.