Teachers use the instructional methods presented in Teaching Cause and Effect to help students engage in higher-order reasoning and think critically about an event, action, idea, topic, or procedure and its causes and effects. Many national education standards, including the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, emphasize the ability to think critically about causes and effects.
The centerpiece of Teaching Cause and Effect is the Cause-and-Effect Guide, a graphic organizer used to depict components of cause-and-effect relationships.
Research on "Teaching Cause and Effect" included studies involving almost 200 students enrolled in seventh and eighth grad social studies and science classes. Participating students represented those identified as having learning disabilities, those who were low achieving, average achieving and high achieving.
Students in the experimental group were better able to learn the steps designed to analyze a cause-and-effect relationship and apply the steps as they analyzed a cause-and-effect relationship. In addition, students in the experimental group were better able to identify the causes of an event, identify the effects of an event, identify connections between causes and effects and summarize the importance of the causes and effects.
Finally, two other findings are of interest. First, a correlation was found between knowledge of the strategy steps and the ability to analyze a cause-and-effect relationship. Second, when students who learned this strategy took quality notes, they were better able to analyze a cause-and-effect relationship.