Introduction to The Multi Flow Map

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SWBAT record the cause and effect relationships of getting ready for school while learning the Multi Flow Map.

Big Idea

The ability to see cause and effect relationships is an important skill in reading comprehension. In this introductory lesson, students will learn how to use a Multi Flow Map through an easy concept of how they got ready for school.

Teacher Background Knowledge and Preparation

     The Multi- Flow Map is our next map to learn about in this unit and it is used for seeing cause and effect relationships.  Multi- Flow Maps can look very different depending on the content and age level of student you are teaching.  I have included an example of a full Multi-Flow Map in the Smartboard or Activboard lesson. We are going to start off simple today with one cause box and one effect box but you will see in later lessons that our Multi-Flow Maps will gradually get more complex and have more boxes. 

     I did this lesson about 7 weeks into the school year. Today's lesson is all about teaching the students how to use the map.  The lesson would break down if I tried to teach the students how to use the map along with teaching rigorous text-based content. So I'm having students write about cause and effect relationships that they see in their daily lives. Even though we aren't reading an actual book today with this lesson, we are setting a strong foundation in which students will eventually be able to achieve standard RL1.3. We are going to be looking at the cause and effect relationships that students experienced when getting ready for school today.  We are working with content that is familiar to them, working on the skill of cause and effect, and learning how to use the Multi-Flow Map.

       For this activity, all you will need is  your Smartboard Introducing Thinking Maps or Activboard Introducing Thinking Maps lesson, and your students will need 4 copies of the Multi Flow Map Student Copy Multi Flow Map.  I make 2 double sided copies and then staple them together in a packet for my students.  This makes is easy for the students to manage the papers.

Modeling Section

15 minutes

I brought my students to the carpet and had them sit in front of the Smartboard.  I said, "Today we are going to be learning about the Multi-Flow Map.  We always use a Multi-Flow Map when we talk about cause and effect."

I went on to tell the students that the reason why we use a Multi- Flow Map is to describe events that happen and why those events happen.  I had my Multi-Flow Map posted on my Activboard and I showed them the first box that says Cause.  I have Event listed under the Cause. I said, "When I was  a child, I always was confused with the words cause and effect. For some reason, in my mind having "Event" and "Why Things Happened" posted makes more sense to me."  I know that by adding these additional words it will benefit some of my students as well.

I said, "I am going to model some cause and effect relationships that I know you will be able to tell me about because you've probably experienced some of these events yourselves."

I proceeded to model the different cause and effect relationships for my students.  I would write the cause, or the event in the first box on the Mult-Flow Map and then I would ask my students for possible effects for the cause.  The students were actively engaged and I received several different answers for the effects and they all made sense.  Here are the cause and effects that we worked on. I've listed the cause first and I've listed the different answers my students gave me.  It was good for my students to hear that there were several possible answers.

  • I was tired. ( I was cranky, I yawned, or I went to sleep)
  • It started raining on the way to school. ( I took out my umbrella, or I put my hood up and ran into school.
  • I didn't take care of my teeth. (I got a cavity, or I had to go to the dentist and get a filling),
  • I fell on the playground and scraped my knee. ( I cried, I went to the nurse's office, or I washed the scrape off and put on a bandaid.)


Guided/ Independent Practice

20 minutes

After modeling our cause and effects I said, "OK everybody, we are going to go back to our seats and I'm going to give you a packet that has 4 maps on it.  We are going to practice 4 cause and effect relationships.  I will give you the cause and you will have to think of the effect on your own and write it down.  Do you remember how we practiced and their could be more than one possible answer for the effect? Well, this may happen again when you are writing your effects." I sent them back to their seats and passed out the Multi-Flow packets.

These are the causes we worked on (you of course can use what you'd like):

  • My mom woke me up.
  • I was hungry after I woke up.
  • I was in my pajamas.
  • I left the house.

Since the purpose of the lesson was to have the students learn the map, I felt as though I had to give the students the cause.  The independent practice part became the part where students had to determine the effect of each cause.  I really wanted to make sure that I didn't overload my students with trying to learn the map and having the content be too rigorous. 

As students worked on their effects, I walked around offering support to those students who needed it.  Some of my students had a hard time just getting started with writing a sentence.  I had them tell me the sentence orally first.  Then I would have the students say the sentence again as we counted how many words that we were going to write.  Then I drew a line in the effect box for each word that they had counted.  This gave them a visual support as to how many words they were going to write.  I also helped them to segment the words as best they could and encouraged them to write down the sounds that they heard.  There were many students who also said, "How do you spell ...." To which I said, "Mrs. Gresser isn't a spelling machine," and I started to segment and tap the sounds on my fingers to have students be self-reliant on their own phonetic spelling skills.  I want my students to be independent with their own learning.  I don't want them to feel as though they can't try things on their own without my support.

My students all gave me about the same answers but I could tell that their work was their own because each answer was worded in a slightly different way.  You can see a video of some of my student work here Student Work Multi-Flow Maps.


5 minutes

I always like my closures to be short and sweet.  Since the purpose of the lesson was to have my students know what a Multi-Flow map was used for I asked questions about the map. My questions included:

  • What do we use a Multi-Flow Map for?
  • What does cause mean?
  • What does effect mean?

Then I asked my students if they'd like to share one of their cause and effects with me.  It was a good way for me to assess whether or not my students understood cause and effect relationships.

If after you do this lesson you decide you want to incorporate more Thinking Maps in your classroom, I have some resources for you here: Examples of Thinking Maps.ppt, Multi Flow Map Examples, and SBE Thinking Maps. If you would like to send information home to your parents about the Multi-Flow Map click here.  I also have a pdf that shows how you can use Thinking Maps in reader response activities Reader Response With Thinking Maps.  Finally, I have a video for you How to Save and Modify the Thinking Maps that shows how you can save and modify the maps I've already created in the Smartboard lesson so you can use them over and over again when creating your own lessons.