QUICK LESSON: A Lesson in Cause and Effect

Cause and Effect Template in Inspiration

Understanding the difference between cause and effect and how the two relate to one another is an important academic and life skill. Understanding how to create a cause and effect diagram and when to use it helps students understand why events occur  and predict what will happen in the future.1 Visual thinking cause and effect diagrams make comprehension of events easier to see and grasp. Using visual thinking tools such as Kidspiration®, Inspiration® and Webspiration Classroom™ make the process of creating and expanding upon cause and effect diagrams feasible in a classroom setting.

In this Quick Lesson Idea you’ll learn:

  • When to use cause and effect diagrams as a thinking and learning strategy
  • Tips on creating and using visual thinking diagrams to show cause and effect
  • Where to find additional resources on cause and effect in Inspiration and Webspiration Classroom

When to Use a Cause and Effect Diagram
Cause and effect can help you better explain to your students the relationship between events, decisions or effects. Use a cause and effect diagram when teaching the following concepts:

  • Analyzing events that led to a war or revolution
  • Effects of pollution on the environment
  • Reasons for developing transportation, such as the Transcontinental Railroad
  • Why dinosaurs became extinct
  • Why homelessness occurs in society
  • How liquid becomes a solid
  • Causes of a volcano eruption
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  • For some additional cause and effect scenarios, check out the following articles:
    • “English 9: Cause and Effect Topics”2
    • “What and Why (Cause and Effect)”3

Tips On Creating and Using Visual Thinking Diagrams to Show Cause and Effect
Several visual thinking diagrams show cause and effect. First, you want to decide if you are looking at one cause with multiple effects or multiple causes with one effect. For example, if you are showing the causes of the Civil War, you might choose a visual diagram that has the Civil War in the single “effect box” with multiple “cause” boxes for your students to fill in with the causes of the Civil War. You would want links with arrows out from each of the cause boxes connecting to the effect box. By doing so, students can visualize how causes lead to an effect.

Where to Find Resources on Cause and Effect
In Inspiration and Webspiration Classroom, we have created several great resources to help you and your students get started with cause and effect diagrams. In Inspiration, you’ll find several templates and in Webspiration Classroom you’ll find Student Resources, as well as Starter Docs.

  • Inspiration Templates
    Open Inspiration and choose Templates from the Starter Screen. From here, skim through the different folders to find the following templates: 

    • Cause and Effect
    • Cause and Effect Essay
    • Root Cause Analysis
    • Effects of an Amendment
    • Impact of an Innovation
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  • Webspiration Classroom Student Resources
    Sign in to Webspiration Classroom and click on Resource Center from the Starter Screen. From here, click on the Student Resources Tab, scroll down and expand the section titled “Writing a Cause/Effect Essay.” Here, you’ll find the following Study Tips to get started in Webspiration Classroom:

  • Webspiration Classroom Starter Docs
    Open Webspiration Classroom and click on Starter Docs from the Starter Screen. From here, search for “Cause and Effect” to find the Cause and Effect template.

Do you have a visual diagram in Inspiration or Webspiration Classroom that you use to teach cause and effect? If so, share it with other educators on our Inspired Learning Community at http://www.inspiration.com/community/.

Thanks for reading!

Sarah Cargill
Thinkspiration Ambassador, Inspiration Software

Social Media Specialist for Inspiration since 11/12. Loves STEM, environmental education, visual learning and all things related to people overcoming challenges!
InspirationSMS
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  1. “Cause and Effect Mini Lesson by Diana Dell, Ed.S.” Teaching and Learning with Technology: Diana Dell, Ed.S. – Instructional Technology Specialist for the Valley Park School District. Web. 15 June 2011. <http://www.mrsdell.org/causeandeffect/>. []
  2. “ENGLISH 9: CAUSE AND EFFECT TOPICS.” OUR HIGH SCHOOL HOMESCHOOL BLOG. Web. 15 June 2011. <http://ourhighschoolhomeschool.blogspot.com/2007/08/english-9-cause-and-effect-topics.html>. []
  3. “Strategies for Empowering Students – What and Why (Cause and Effect).” University of Illinois Extension-Urban Programs Resource Network – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Web. 15 June 2011. <http://urbanext.illinois.edu/ce/strat130.html>. []

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