Cause and Effect Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Use this lesson plan to teach your students about cause/effect relationships, then discuss aspects like temporal precedence and correlation. Practice the concept with scenarios and familiar text.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define key terms cause/effect
  • identify cause/effect relationships in familiar text
  • create cause/effect scenarios


  • 1 hour


  • Chart paper
  • Familiar text
  • Simple examples of cause/effect scenarios

Key Vocabulary

  • Cause effect relationship
  • Cause
  • Effect
  • Temporal precedence
  • Correlation

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.2.a

Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information, using strategies such as definition, classification, comparison/contrast, and cause/effect; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7.3

Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events).

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7.10

By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 6-8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.


  • Build prior knowledge and connect learning by describing a delicious meal to your students. Use descriptive language. Afterwards, discuss how the telling of your meal may have caused many students to become hungry. Have students discuss their prior knowledge of cause/effect at table groupings, then briefly share as a class.
  • Next, show our video lesson Cause and Effect Relationship: Definition & Examples.
  • Expand upon the lesson and lead discussion with class:
    • Ask students to think of an example in which one cause had more than one effect.
    • Explain temporal precedence.
    • In your delicious meal example, what may have impacted the effect of feeling hungry?
    • Was there a correlation between your description and students' hunger? Explain.

Guided Practice

  • In notebooks, have students create a graphic organizer with two column-like sections. Label the first column 'Cause' and the second 'Effect'. Model for students on chart paper or board.
  • Give a scenario for practice, such as a snowman melting and a big muddy yard. Have them place the events in the correct column. Practice with several cause/effect scenarios to ensure understanding.

Independent Practice

  • Partner students and hand out copies of familiar text, like Little Red Riding Hood or another fairy tale. Have students work together to find examples of cause/effect scenarios in text.
  • Record in correct columns in notebooks.
  • Share as a class, recording on chart paper. Discuss aspects of temporal precedence and correlation.
  • For an exit slip, have students create their own cause/effect scenario.


  • For homework, ask students to conduct their own cause/effect experiment like you did at the beginning of class. Have them predict results and write actual ones. Discuss in class.
  • Read an informational text related to current events (such as climate change) to find cause/effect relationships.
  • Have students look for and identify 'signal words,' those used often to indicate a cause/effect situation is occurring. Create a class list.

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