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Monday, April 8, 2013

Cause and Effect

This past week, my third graders and I worked on cause and effect. I had not covered the skill explicitly since we switched RTI groups, so this was new to some of my students and review for others. For this reason, I began with a read aloud of the popular If You Give A Moose A Muffin. Laura Numeroff's books are perfect for practicing cause and effect!

After reading aloud the book, we completed a cause and effect matching activity. For this activity, students matched a blue muffin (cause) with a pink muffin (effect). Or for a more challenging version, you may use black and white versions of the muffins so that students have to figure out the causes and effects for themselves.

If you would like a copy of the activity, you may purchase one my clicking on the image above or below. (You will be redirected to my TPT store.)

The next day, we began reading several short articles. I have found that articles about endangered animals and weather work extremely well with cause and effect. As usual, my go-to magazines were Scholastic News and Ranger Rick. To be honest, I was very surprised that the students were so fascinated with the article Ghost Cat. This article is about snow leopards, and the students must have had at least a hundred questions! (The beautiful illustrations certainly helped!)

With the first two articles, I typed up a mixed list of causes and effects. In previous lessons, I had just given students a list of causes or effects. This required students to switch their thinking. At first, students had a difficult time, but really improved over the week.

Students glued the causes and effects into their reader's notebooks, and we completed the charts together.

I used the final article about weather as an assessment. Students independently completed the graphic organizer below for the article. I really like this graphic organizer because it also asks students to explain their reasoning. They have to explain how or why the cause leads to the effect in each situation. If you would like your own copy of the graphic organizer, click on the image below.

Do you have any "tried and true" books or topics for teaching cause and effect?

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


  1. I love Laura's books, what a great way to introduce this topic. Thanks for the freebie.

  2. Those muffin cause and effects are adorable!! :) :)
    ideas by jivey

  3. I like to use real-life examples when I introduce cause and effect, especially with my group of bully/victim-prone students! Eventually I move to literature, but they need to be reminded (all.the.time.) that there are consequences for their actions.

    Everyone deServes to Learn

  4. I think teaching cause/effect is crucial at any age. Great thinking/reasoning skills here. When I saw the moose book I had to giggle. I just bought my six and a half year old granddaughter "If You Give a Pig a Pancake." she had been wanting it or weeks. Her favorite book is "Children Make Terrible Pets" by Peter Brown.


  5. After using fiction for cause and effect, I like to move to nonfiction. Next week I am going to use My Light by Molly Bang with my third graders. This will also help them with their science tests as well!

    Cute muffin activities!

    Reading Toward the Stars

  6. I LOVE this idea. I am teaching Cause and Effect with my 3rd graders now. I like your charts and love the if you gave a... books. So much fun. I'm your newest follower!

    Bouncing through 3rd grade


Thank you for the comment! I love hearing what you think!

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