Lesson plan

Learning About Cause and Effect!

Help your students understand what cause and effect looks like in everyday situations! This hands-on, engaging lesson plan allows students to examine cause and effect in their own lives as well as fictional text!
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Creating Cause and Effect Skits pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Creating Cause and Effect Skits pre-lesson.

Students will be able to identify cause and effect.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Model a brief cause and effect scenario for your class. Before you begin, ask students to get out a reading log or journal.
  • Encourage students to jot down words, phrases, and observations of your actions. Guide students by writing the following prompting questions on the board to help them with their observations:
    • How do I look?
    • How do I sound?
    • How do I feel?
  • Pretend like you are rushing into the classroom. Next, drop your bag on your desk and act like you are out of breath. Pretend like you are worried!
(10 minutes)
  • Write the following sentence starter on the whiteboard:
    • I woke up late so ____.
  • Explain to the students that every day, things happen that lead to other things happening. Explain that sometimes what happens is out of our control, and other times what happens is because of certain things we do or forget to do!
  • Write the words "cause" and "effect" on the whiteboard.
  • Explain that when something happens that makes something else happen as a result, that is called the cause. Tell the students that what happens after is called an effect.
  • Underline the phrase "I woke up late." Then, write the word "cause." Explain that the cause of the actions you just modeled was waking up late.
  • Explain to students that the word so helps show that waking up late caused other things to happen.
  • Ask student volunteers to share some of the effects that happened because you woke up late. Encourage them to refer to their reading logs or journals to use their observations to support their answers. Finish the sentence starter by writing their ideas on the board in complete sentences. Ideas for the above scenario include:
    • I woke up late so I rushed into the classroom.
    • I woke up late so I was out of breath when I arrived.
    • I woke up late so I dropped my bag on my desk.
    • I woke up late so I felt worried.
(10 minutes)
  • Write the following sentences on the whiteboard:
    • I believed in myself so I tried out for soccer.
    • I felt sick to my stomach so I called my dad to pick me up.
    • I lost my stuffed animal so I felt sad.
  • Call on a few student volunteers to come up to the board to label the cause and effect of one of the sentences, using the pre-labeled sticky notes.
  • Put the students in five small groups and pass out two strips from the Sports Cause and Effect worksheet to each group.
  • Explain that students have a few minutes to read the cause phrase on the left and circle the correct effect on the right.
  • Allow each group to share out their cause and effect sentences with the rest of the class. Clarify any confusion before moving on.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask students to go back to their seats and pass out the Cause and Effect worksheet to each student.
  • Explain to students that they will read the short fictional stories and answer the corresponding questions. Model completing number one for students.
  • Have students complete numbers 2–4 independently.
  • Walk around and assist students as necessary.

Support: Allow students to work with a partner during independent work time.

Enrichment: Encourage students to create their own cause/effect sentences and illustrate them.

(10 minutes)
  • Ask students to get out their reading logs or journals.
  • Write the following sentence starters on the board:
    • My mom dropped me off at my friend's house so ____.
    • My dad asked me to help with dinner so ____.
    • I was kind to my friend so ____.
    • I forgot to tie my shoe so ____.
  • Pass out a red and blue crayon to each student. Explain that students will write the sentence starters in their reading logs or journals and finish them, using their own ideas and words. Next, they will underline the cause with red crayon and the effect with blue crayon.
  • Rotate around the room and support students as needed.
(5 minutes)
  • Have students do a think-pair-share with a neighbor, sharing two of their finished sentences and identifying the cause and effect of each sentence.
  • Explain that identifying the cause and effect in our own lives and when we read deepens our understanding of situations and stories!

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