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A Cause and Effect Lesson for First Grade

written by: Olive Estrella Coronado • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 3/2/2012

On the lookout for cause and effect lessons for first grade? Try this lesson plan for your kids!

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    Cause and effect lessons for first grade are a vital part of the development of their reading comprehension skills. It is essential in honing the students’ critical thinking skills as well, not only in English, but in other subjects too. There are many different ways that you can teach this skill, and it takes several sessions for the kids to master it. Here is one you can use in the classroom:

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    At the end of the session, the students must be able to:

    • Differentiate between cause and effect.
    • Identify the cause and effect in a given situation.
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    To motivate your first graders, you can show interesting video clips or pictures that depict different people and situations. Some examples are:

    • A crying child
    • A dirty river
    • A big crowd in the mall

    Ask the students why they think the child is crying or why the river is dirty or why there is a big crowd gathered in the mall. Write down all their answers on the board, arranged in a concept web, with the subject of the video or picture in the center. Afterwards, create another concept web as a class, this time asking them what they think will happen next.

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    Cause and effect lessons for first grade should be presented and explained in a simple manner, with many examples and exercises involved. After completing the motivation activity, explain to the students that the first concept web represents possible causes for the video clip or picture, while the second one shows the possible effects. Then make a separate chart with two columns for cause and effect. Under “cause", write “why it happened". Under “effect", write “what happened". Give examples that the students can relate to very well, such as things that possibly happen to them in school or at home. Here are some examples:

    • Cause: Alex did not study for the test- Effect: Alex got a low grade
    • Cause: Jill forgot to eat breakfast- Effect: She has a stomach ache in school
    • Cause: The students won the contest- Effect: They had a celebration party

    You may do some follow-up activities to reinforce the learning:

    • Let the students read a story or you may discuss a story as a class. Then together, identify the different cause-and-effect situations in the story.
    • Give each student a picture or a sentence, and let them look for the classmate who has a related picture or sentence. After finding their partners, each pair must identify which one is the cause and which one is the effect.
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    Extend your lesson in a relevant way by awakening the awareness of the students regarding important issues that involve the community or the world. For instance, you may have them come up with cause and effect situations for environmental issues and/or community concerns. You can have them do this in a fun way, such as creating a collage out of magazine cut-outs or making a poster or storybook that shows the cause and effect situations they have come up with.

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    Ask the students once more for the meaning of cause and effect. Which one comes first? Which one refers to “why it happened" and which one means “what happened"? Give a recap of the things you have discussed and covered in class. Again, keep in mind that cause and effect lessons for first grade are important so you have to ensure the students' understanding and application of this skill.

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    Present a story that you have not discussed in class. Then ask questions that refer to a cause or effect pointed out in the story. For instance, you may ask “Why did the main character go there?" or “What happened when the main character did this?" and then give multiple choice options. Afterwards, you can provide a chart filled up with some causes and effects based on the story, and have them complete it.