Cause & Effect chains


1. Put the kids in groups. Smaller is better. Take my word for it. I learned it the hard way!

2. Assign each group a starter sentence. A couple of ours were, “Sophie drove her parent’s car without permission” or “Cecil missed his plane.”

3. Allow groups to write the sentence on a strip of paper. I even had them cut the strips. Then, have them write the effect of that statement on another strip. Attach the new strip to the old one to start the chain. We used staplers.

4. Have the groups use the last strip in the chain as the new cause. They should write an effect for that event.

5. Continue adding effects to the chain.

Here is how one of ours went… you be the judge of if it was a hit:)

1. Sophie drove her parents’ car without permission.

2. She hit an old lady.

3. The old lady died.

4. Sophie’s family had to pay the old lady’s family and for the funeral.

5. Sophie’s family became hobos….

Eventually Sophie ends up in jail!!! In these chains, all roads lead to jail. Another character went to jail and was in solitary confinement. Another was in airport jail!

Later we added a little difficulty by asking groups to link their chains together with a few chains. One group got creative and had the main character change his name to make the new chain make sense.

To assess students, I asked them to choose a point on the chain were they would have chosen a different effect and then show the sequence of events from the new effect.

The kids love the chain and tell all of our visitors about the activity. I loved that it was fun and creative and not just, “read the story and find causes and effects.” It was loud, but that never really phases me unless I have a headache.


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