Teaching cause and effect in a homeschool curriculum gives you lots of fun options. Causal relationships are all around us, giving plenty of real world experience with the concept. Understanding cause and effect can also help students with reading comprehension.
Printable Cause and Effect Worksheets
Worksheets can help kids review skills you've already gone over and help you, as the teacher, assess what your child has learned. To print the worksheets, you must first have the latest version of Adobe reader installed. If you don't have it, you can get Adobe reader, for free, here.
First and Second Grade
First and second grade is when students typically discover relationships and consequences. They tend to focus on the simple statement, 'If this happens, then that happens.' The worksheet above is geared towards these students. The student will read a sentence and be asked to identify what in the sentence is cause and what is effect. An example is provided and an answer key is included for the parent or teacher.
Grades Two to Four
By the time a child reaches third or fourth grade, he usually has a firm grasp of cause and effect in sentences. He can identify each part of the sentence and is now ready to take that learning a step further and begin to come up with causes for effects and effects for causes. This worksheet gives the student a cause and he is asked to come up with an effect that goes with the cause. An example and answer key is included, but the effect answers can vary.
IF your child finishes the two printables here, but needs more practice, there are a few other options to try.
Flashlight Cause and Effect Worksheet
The Flashlight Cause and Effect Worksheet was created by HaveFunTeaching.com. It helps with reading comprehension and is geared toward third and fourth graders. The student reads the worksheet and then fills in either the cause or effect, depending upon which is blank. The worksheet is in PDF format, so it will print like a standard 8 1/2 x 11 worksheet. HaveFunTeaching site also features several other printables on cause and effect, including a graphic organizer.
Matching Cause and Effect
The Matching Cause and Effect Printable is available at EdHelper, a site created to help educators and homeschooling parents find additional worksheets to reinforce skills. The age range for this worksheet is first and second grade. The causes are listed on the left and numbered one through 10; the effects are listed on the right and given a letter of a through j. The student matches the letter to the correct number and draws a line connecting the effect to the cause.
Baking Cause and Effect Handout
The Baking Cause and Effect Handout is produced by teAchnology.com. It is geared toward third and fourth graders and features a first-person story about baking with Mom. At the end of the story, there is a chart with causes and effects. The student fills in the blanks, sometimes answering what the cause is and sometimes answering what the effect is.
Activities for Teaching Cause and Effect
Why should you bother teaching cause and effect? Understanding the relationship between causes and effects helps kids in many areas by helping them learn how the world works, make predictions while reading (an important reading comprehension strategy), and even helping them gain a better understanding of history or science. However, you do not have to stick to worksheets to teach these concepts. There are a variety of activities to help your child grasp cause and effect.
Show the kids a cause and effect relationship for a concrete way to teach the subject. For example, you can pop a balloon without warning with a pin. The popping noise will grab the kids' attention and lead into a discussion about causal relationships. The balloon popping is the effect. The kids identify the cause for the balloon popping which was poking it with a pin. Another cause and effect relationship could be the kids jumping caused by the popping sound. Use different cause and effect demonstrations over the course of several days to continue practicing the concept.
There are several words that give clues to the cause and effect relationship. Some of these words include:
Help kids identify these words in written text to help find the two components of the relationship.
Use books to help teach your kids about cause and effect. Books, such as If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, illustrate causal relationships. The book is made up of a series of causes and effects. After reading the book, the kids name situations in the book that demonstrate the concept.
Cause and Effect Chain
Start by stating an effect such as "I fell down." The next person then states a potential cause of falling down such as "Because there was a banana peel on the floor." The next person comes up with a cause for that statement such as "Because a monkey threw it there." The chain continues until you can't think of any other causes for the previous statement. Record the list of cause and effect relationships for review after the activity.
A simple cause and effect graphic organizer is useful for older kids as they read a written passage. You can make one by creating two columns, one for each part of the relationship. The students write down the two components of each cause and effect relationship they come across as they read.
Encourage the kids to practice the concept by writing a cause and effect paragraph. They focus on including both causes and the resulting effects in a paragraph. Either fiction or nonfiction subjects work for this writing activity.
Timelines are an easy way to document causal relationships. The events that fall first of the timeline are often the causes of events that fall further down the timeline. Drawing a timeline helps kids understand the relationships between the historical events you are discussing.
When conducting your regular science experiments and explorations, take time to emphasize predictions. Encourage kids to predict how the steps in the experiment will affect the outcome.
Real World Examples
Look for examples of causal relationships in real life, even outside of your homeschooling time. Traffic stopping at a red light, a jar falling off the shelf at the grocery store, a lost child crying, a pot boiling on the stove and icicles forming on the roof are just a few of the examples you might see in an average day. Turn it into a game, challenging the kids to see how many examples they can find in a day.
Understanding Causal Relationships
Teaching cause and effect with a variety of activities gives kids a better understanding of concept. They use these skills to better understand how the world works, how events escalated in history and why certain scientific principles occur.