There are two ways to think about cause and effect:
When reading and writing, it’s important to think about the skill and the text structure.
Here’s a quick cause and effect video to explain.
Think about cause and effect. When a leaf rolls across a field, what causes it?
Cause = The Wind
When the wind blows, what is an effect?
Effect = Leaf Rolls Across a Field
In a text, this can show up different ways:
When you write a text or a paragraph, you can structure (or organize) the sentences in ways that show cause and effect.
Cause = Too Many Plastic Bottles
Effect = Polluted Oceans
Here’s a paragraph that uses the cause and effect text structure:
Some of the things that humans use are not friendly to our planet. Plastic is an item that never goes away. When we use too many plastic bottles it can impact our oceans. Shorelines collect plastic bottles that are washed up by waves. Animals may consume pieces of broken plastic. Too much plastic can pollute our oceans.
A cause is what makes something happen. It creates the effect.
Sometimes there can be more than one cause.
Think about this example of water spilling in the kitchen.
If the boy didn’t bump the counter, the water wouldn’t have spilled. Also, if the water wasn’t on the edge, it wouldn’t have spilled.
Some effects have more than one cause.
Also, some causes create more than one effect.
Read this example to see how a single cause can create more than one effect.
Here’s one way to understand cause and effect:
Be sure that students understand that a cause is an action or event the makes something else (the effect) happen. If necessary, review simple cause and effect relationships such as, “If I knock that glass over (cause), the water will spill (effect).” – Scholastic
Here’s a free cause and effect worksheet for practice.
Using quality resources can help. We’ve created this cause and effect task card bundle (grades 3-5) to help you teach cause and effect.
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