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How to Teach Cause and Effect to Your Kids

6 Cause and Effect Teaching Techniques 

How frequently do you tell your children or recall your parents telling you, "Eat all your meals so you won't be hungry," or "If you finish your homework, you can play," to them? Too frequently for me. On the plus side, we are actually helping children understand how things relate to one another. We are proving cause and effect—that one event is the result of another event—believe it or not.

In a cause-and-effect relationship, one thing is the outcome of another. The relationship illustrates an action and a reaction. The reason something happened is the cause, and the result is what happened. In this blog post, we'll look at several literacy-based lessons for teaching kids about cause-and-effect relationships.

1. Make a chart using anchors

An anchor chart will help reinforce cause and effect concepts. Additionally, it provides a mechanism for you to evaluate or use the data independently all year long. Here is an illustration of a chart that can be used with readers who are in the primary grades.

2. Teach young, aspiring readers word clues

When trying to identify cause-and-effect linkages in reading, there are several terms that can serve as hints for readers. Use of the word because or so with statements to introduce the concept is an easy technique to aid young readers. The sentences found on either side of the words are the cause and the consequence, and both terms denote a cause-and-effect relationship.

3. Teach upper elementary students word clues

When identifying causes and effects in reading or formulating cause-and-effect assertions in writing, certain terms can serve as hints for seasoned readers. Signals of cause-and-effect interactions include the prepositions so, if, and then, the coordinating conjunctions for and so, the subordinating conjunctions because and since, and the conjunctions for and so. For students starting in grades 3 and up, the anchor chart below is extremely useful.

4. Engage pupils with a game of causes and effects

The retention of knowledge is significantly improved when students actively participate in their education. Students will be better able to draw connections and comprehend ideas if examples are taken from everyday life. The game that follows explains how students might utilize an exercise to demonstrate their understanding of cause-and-effect relationships.

The teacher constructs several causes and effects that correspond using sentence strips. Each student is handed a strip, and their task is to locate a different student who matches their cause or effect. By varying the strips, the game can be played repeatedly. Here are a few illustrations.

There are several ways to develop or enhance this practice by letting students create their own cause-and-effect clauses:

  1. Give pupils a cause, then ask them to think of various effects. Accepting various responses when appropriate, such as "If you breach the rules then..." or "The houses were destroyed because..."

  2. Find causal connections in leveled texts that are new or well-known to you to produce more matched pairings.

5. Create graphic organizers

Generate a few causes of real-world events, and allow small groups of students to generate different effects using graphic organizers. For instance, as I write this blog (Sept. 2019), our state and others are in the midst of hurricane season. There is no shortage of information and pictures detailing the catastrophic effects of hurricanes in the newspapers. Pictures and student drawings will bring meaning to these graphic organizers illustrating cause and effect.

6. Utilize leveled books for guided reading that cover science concepts.

Science aims to comprehend and account for the natural world. There are explanations for why events like erosion or volcano eruptions take place. Many scientific topics can be explained better by teaching cause and effect. It also serves as the basis for the scientific method, which helps us to determine if a cause actually results in an observed effect.


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