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Lesson Plan

Recognizing Cause and Effect by ECSDM


English Language Arts (2005), English Language Arts (NYS P-12 Common Core)

Grade Levels

Intermediate, 5th Grade, 6th Grade


In this lesson, students will define cause and effect and recognize an effect as something that happens as a result of a cause. The students will also apply information about cause and effect to their study of literature.


Students will define the literary terms "cause" and "effect."
Students will locate and apply information for a specific purpose.


1 class period - 45 minutes in length.


SMART Board or white/black board and LCD projector

  • Dawn to the Rescue
  • Cause and Effect Lesson (.xbk)
  • Cause and Effect Lesson (.pdf)
  • Procedure

    Introduce the lesson by telling students today's lesson is about cause and effect. Review the definitions of cause and effect.

    A cause is the reason that something happens.

    An effect is the result or consequence. It is the thing that happens because of the cause.

    The teacher will then tell students that understanding cause and effect will help them better comprehend what they are reading.

    Using the SMART Board lesson "Cause and Effect" (see above), show students Slide 1 - Recognizing Cause and Effect. This slide provides students with a description and explanation of cause and effect.

    Next, ask students how they can find cause and effect (Slides 2 and 3). Go over the signal words that often accompany cause/effect relationships, e.g. because, so, so that, if...then, consequently, thus, since, for , for this reason, as a result of, therefore, due to, this is how, never the less, and accordingly.

    Show Slides 4, 5 and 6. Relate cause and effect to real life situations. For example, "Sara studied hard for her final exam. As a result, she received an 'A' on her test." Another example could be, "I left my lunch on the kitchen counter. I then had to use my allowance to buy something to eat." Ask students to draw on personal experiences and give examples that describe an action and its consequence.

    The students will read a short passage about the Winter Street Bridge (Slide 7). They will ask themselves two questions: What happened? Why did it happen? Tell them the first question is the effect and the second question is the cause.

    Using Slide 8, the students will look at a set of sentences. The teacher will choose a few students to go to the SMART Board and write down the cause and effect.

    Lastly, students will utilize the SMART Board to complete a matching exercise (Slides 9, 10, and 11). The teacher could also use Slides 10 and 11 for independent work and/or homework.


    Use Slide 12 to check for understanding.

    A cause is the reason that something happens.

    An effect is the result or consequence. It is the thing that happens because of the cause.

    To find a cause, look for a reason that something happened. Ask yourself, "Why did it happen?"

    To find an effect, look for a result, or something that happened. Ask yourself, "What happened?"

    Look for clue words that signal cause and effect such as, so, so that, since, because, therefore and as a result.

    Ask the students if they have any questions.


    Students are assessed by teacher observations during the SMART Board lesson. Students should demonstrate ability to identify cause and effect in sentences and passages..Possible independent assessment/exit ticket- students write 2 cause and effect statements/examples.



    "Dawn to the Rescue" from FOCUS on RECOGNIZING CAUSE AND EFFECT; published by CURRICULUM ASSOCIATES, Inc.

    SMART Board

    This instructional content was intended for use with a SMART Board. The .xbk file below can only be opened with SMART Notebook software. To download this free software from the SMART Technologies website, please click here.


    Judy Hulse, Enlarged City School District of Middletown

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