Cause and Effect 2nd Grade Unit

This is a three-lesson unit. Texts used include Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes;Why Do You Cry?: Not a Sob Story, by Kate Klise; andAlexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst. All lessons include opportunities for direct teaching, guided practice, and independent practice. Two different graphic organizers are included in the printable materials. You will need to register for the site in order to access them, but registration is free.

Unit Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 
  • During read alouds, discuss how one cause can lead to several effects, several causes can result in one effect, or multiple causes can lead to multiple effects in a story (chain of events). Record causes and effects in a Chain of Events graphic organizer. (See Additional Activity A Worksheet in Teacher and Student Materials below.)
  • If Predicting has been introduced, students can make predictions about causes and effects in read alouds. As a class, make a list of possible causes and effects, and check them as you read. The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins is suitable for this activity. (See More Books for Teaching Cause and Effect below.)
  • Provide students with examples of cause-and-effect relationships. Have students discuss whether they correspond with each other or not. For example, “I tripped over a toy, so I didn’t get any dessert.” or “I yelled at my brother, so I was sent to my room.” You can also write several examples of cause-and-effect relationships on sentence strips. Write one cause or effect on each sentence strip. Have students work in pairs to match the causes to their effects.
  • Students can write about everyday cause-and-effect relationships (you skip in line, you call your friend a name, you help a friend clean up a mess). Have students use a Cause-and-Effect graphic organizer to plan their writing. (See Additional Activity B Worksheet below.)
  • Students can write responses to cause-and-effect prompts such as, “If you don’t brush your teeth, ______,” or “________, so I need an umbrella.”
  • Students can write several effects for one cause, such as “If you don’t go to bed on time (you will be tired, you will oversleep, you will get in trouble.)”

Helpful Hints

Necessary Materials

Lesson 1:

  • Provided: Example Chart, Independent Practice Worksheet
  • Not Provided: Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, chart paper, markers

Lesson 2:

  • Provided: Example Chart, Independent Practice Worksheet
  • Not Provided: Why Do You Cry?: Not a Sob Story by Kate Klise, chart paper, markers

Lesson 3:

  • Provided: Everyday Causes and Effects Chart, Guided Practice Example Chart, Independent Practice Worksheet
  • Not Provided: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, chart paper, markers