Comprehending with Cause and Effect

2 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT write and determine how parts of a story are related through cause and effect relationships.

Big Idea

Cause and effect is not always a simple concept. Students are starting to see that when they write the effect often is written first. This lesson we find the relationship and then try to write them to explain our understanding.

Cause and Effect from Number the Stars

5 minutes

To help review and also build upon cause and effect relationships, I ask the class to think back to the story we are currently reading, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. I have them take out their white boards and write a cause and effect relationship they remember from the book. 

As they write, I walk around and check to see what they are thinking and writing. I stop to offer help or prompting when it is needed. When they finish, I ask them to share their writing with their elbow partner. They need to decide if they agree with both of their boards and if they are good examples of cause and effect. 


Discussing the Relationships

5 minutes

Now that they have created their own, I would like them to practice giving the cause and then having to solve for the effect. How I do this is by having the class write only a cause from the book. They will then swap white boards, and their partner will have to solve for the effect. Once they have switched, we then have a class discussion on some of the examples they came up with. I really like to ask them if anyone in the class was surprised by what effect their partner wrote. 

One observation the class makes is that some causes have multiple effects. We discuss this further and decide that this might actually occur more frequently then we might realize. We do a quick check with what we just learned. Someone gives us a cause from the book, and then we come up with all the effects we can that might relate to it. 

I then do the same activity, but have them start with the effect and then swap boards to solve for the cause. I lead them through the same discussion process. The question I add after this phase is which method was easier, solving for the cause or for the effect. The majority feel that they had an easier time figuring out the cause. 

Writing the Cause and Effect Relationships

10 minutes

Many students do not realize that when they write the relationship, they most often write the effect followed by the cause. This is a product of using the word because. I model this by writing a sentence on the board. Example: The student received an A on the test because he studied all night. I model circling the cause and underlining the effect.

It is now time to practice writing the missing pieces to show their understanding of cause and effect. I do this by giving them a quiz. They will read the passage and have to determine the cause and effect relationships listed. They will do this on their own and it will be graded. I will use the results to drive further instruction or determine an appropriate intervention.