IDEAS FOR INTRODUCING THE CONCEPT: Dominoes are a good introduction for cause and effect. Set up dominoes on a desk or table and discuss what will happen when the first domino falls over. The reader’s theater “It Wasn’t My Fault” adapted from the book by Helen Lester is fun to do and discuss after reading (the script is pages 3–4 of this document). There are many other ways to introduce cause and effect. You can drop a book on the floor, spill some water, break a pencil, etc. and discuss the causes and effects of each action.
LESSON OVERVIEW: Reading children’s books is an excellent way to teach cause and effect. Children’s books are an easily accessible resource to use, even in middle school. They make concepts and skills easier for students to understand and most often students are familiar with the stories. Some children’s books that are useful in teaching cause and effect are: Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester, any of the “If you Give a Mouse a ___” series and variations by Laura Numeroff, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, any of the “Jimmy’s Boa” variations by Trinka Hakes Noble, Legend of the Persian Carpetby Tomie de Paola, Where the Wild Things Are by Sendak, Why Mosquitos Buzz in People’s Ears by Aardema, Comet’s Nine Lives by Jan Brett, Encounter by Jane Yolen, A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle, and many others. Check your own children’s book collection or school library, or borrow books from an elementary teacher.
GRADE LEVEL: 6
SUBJECT: Language Arts/Reading
OBJECTIVES: SPI 0601.5.3 Identify stated or implied cause-effect relationships.
MATERIALS NEEDED: several children’s books, paper, pencils, copies of cause and effect worksheet
ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES:
Introduce cause and effect. You may use any of the ideas listed above or you may have another way you would like to introduce the concept.
Read a children’s book to the class that shows many examples of cause and effect.
As a class, discuss the examples in the book and write them on the board.
It is helpful to point out “signal” words as you teach this concept. Signal words help the reader to identify a cause and effect relationship. It is important to tell students that not all cause and effect relationships will have signal words.
It is also helpful to point out that some causes may have several effects and vice versa. Also, sometimes a cause can become an effect and vice versa.
Discuss how cause and effect relationships can be stated (directly said) or implied (you must “read between the line” to figure it out).
After you believe students have a good understanding of the concept, divide the class into groups and assign roles (Roles may include writer, reader, presenter, etc.)
Give each group a copy of the cause and effect worksheet (p. 2 of this document) and a children’s book.
Explain the directions.** Each group is to read their children’s book and write down the cause and effect examples they find in the book. Then, each group will present their findings to the class by reading the book to everyone and pointing out the cause and effect examples. As each group presents, the rest of the class should be checking to see if the group’s findings are correct. If you would like students to further examine the cause and effect relationships, you can have them determine if the cause and effect is stated or implied and if there is a signal word in each example.
As the teacher, you may assess this activity in many different ways. You could give a grade for written work and a grade for the group’s presentation. You could give one grade for the entire activity, etc.
**Variation of the lesson: If you do not want students to present, then you can begin the activity by assigning each group a book and then switch the books among the groups. Students will have several opportunities to identify cause and effect with different books.
Name ____________________________________ Date ____________________________
Cause – Why something happens, the action that makes something else happen
Effect – the result of the action or cause
Examples of “Signal” words: because, therefore, so, since, as a result, on account of, consequently, for this reason, led to, due to, is caused by
Narrator 1: IT WASN'T MY FAULT
Narrator 2: Things did not always go well for Murdley Gurdson.
Narrator 3: He couldn't control the toothpaste. He fell into wastebaskets.
Narrator 4: And he dropped only valuable vases. Whatever happened, it was usually his fault.
Narrator 5: One day he went for a walk in his one too big new shoe.
Narrator 6: He had stepped out of the other one. He couldn't remember where.
Narrator 1: Before long someone laid an egg on Murdley Gurdson¹s head. He looked at a nearby bird.
Murdley: "Did you lay an egg on my head?"
Narrator 2: he asked. The bird confessed,
Bird: "I did, but it wasn't my fault. A horrible aardvark screamed and scared me."
Narrator 3: So Murdley Gurdson and the bird went to see the aardvark.
Murdley: "Did you scream and scare the bird into laying an egg on Murdley Gurdson's head?"
Narrator 4: they asked. The aardvark confessed,
Aardvark: "I did, but it wasn't my fault. A nasty, pygmy hippo stepped on my tail and a scream just popped out."
Narrator 5: Together they went to find the pygmy hippo.
Bird: "Did you step on the aardvark's tail, making him scream and scare the bird into laying an egg on Murdley Gurdson's head?"
Narrator 6: they asked. The pygmy hippo confessed,
Pygmy Hippo: "I did, but it wasn't my fault. I did it by accident when I was getting out of the way of a hopping shoe with long ears."
Aardvark: "A WHAT!"
Narrator 1: they all asked. Just then along came a hopping shoe with long ears.
Narrator 2: With a pull and a tug, they soon found that the ears were attached to a rabbit. The rabbit explained,
Rabbit: "It wasn't my fault. I was hopping along when I landed in that shoe and became stuck."
Narrator 3: The shoe looked very much like the new too big shoe Murdley had stepped out of some time ago. In fact, it was. Murdley thought:
Murdley: "The rabbit became stuck in my shoe and frightened the pygmy hippo who stepped on the aardvark's tail. The aardvark screamed and scared the bird into laying an egg on my head. Then I suppose it way my fault,"
Narrator 4: Murdley Gurdson said very sadly. Two tears splashed on his new too big shoes.
Pygmy Hippo: "There, there,"
Narrator 5: said the pygmy hippo, the rabbit, the bird, and the aardvark,