Teaching Cause and Effect
Teaching cause and effect can be both fun and a little challenging. Students catch on pretty quickly when I tell them the effect is what happened and the cause is why it happened. [After a few times of repeating this, I shorten the statement to “what and why.”] I follow this with several everyday examples:
The boy fell because there was water on the floor.
The students went out of the school when the fire alarm went off.
As a result of the large snowfall last night, school was closed.
Students can soon parrot back that cause and effect is the “what and why.” Most students can even give examples of cause and effect from everyday experiences; however, finding cause and effect relationships in text is much more challenging. Due to this, I teach students to look for signal words such as “because,” “so,” “therefore,” “as a result of,” “due to” and so on to help them locate cause and effect relationships in text.
I find that students just need practice to master this skill. To make learning about cause and effect fun, I created practice materials centered around the theme of magic. The first activity is to create a lap book which goes over the rules, signal words, models for making cause and effect graphic organizers when outlining text, and methods for writing a cause and effect paper. Below you can see photos of this lap book. It is in the shape of a magician’s hat. My students loved creating it.
#1 ~~ Students make a lap book in the shape of a magician’s hat.
#2 ~~ Twenty-six task cards are included in the unit. The practice paragraphs on the task cards are about magic and the magicians, Harry Houdini and David Copperfield. You can download a sample of the task cards and a student response page here by just clicking on the images.
The unit also contains the following:
mini posters which go over rules an definitions
methods for writing a cause & effect essay
decorative paper for writing essays
an assortment of blank organizers for outlining cause & effect texts
For additional practice your students might enjoy these interactive online activities.
Interactive Activities on the Web
Click on the image for the activity you wish to see. I hope your students will find these activities fun!