Out Teach
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Upper Primary
  • Cause and Effect
  • ELA
  • Ifthen
  • Out Teach
  • Writing
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    Education Standards

    Cause and Effect in the Garden -- Out Teach

    Cause and Effect in the Garden -- Out Teach


    In this lesson, students will formulate and interpret cause-and-effect relationships using a 3-column chart to organize their ideas.
    Students will apply the concept of "cause" as something that always happens first, and the effect is the resulting outcome (or what happens second).

    Background for Teachers:

    Out Teach logo

    Using real-world problems, students will develop critical thinking skills about the causes and effects of maintaining the school garden. And, they will build an understanding of the needs of living organisms.

    Key Vocabulary:

    • Cause

    • Effect

    • Evidence

    Guiding Questions:

    What key words made you think that this was a cause and effect relationship?

    How will these words help you think about cause and effect relationships in books you might read in the future?


    Ask students to share some of the things they have done to help create/maintain their outdoor classroom. Remind them that the outdoor classroom belongs to all of them and that they share the responsibility of taking care of it.

    Ask students to spend some time walking around the outdoor classroom looking for current or potential problems (such as an area of erosion, weeds taking over a bed, a plant with an apparent insect problem, etc.)


    Bring class back to central location to share some of what they observed.

    Choose one of the "problems" to serve as an example of a cause/effect relationship in the garden.

    Using the one example, model creating 3-column chart with Cause/Effect/Evidence T-chart for everyone to see. Guide students to create a similar chart in their own journals:




    The veggie bed was ignored over the summer. 

    The veggie bed has a lot of weeds. 

    Allow students to pull weed and tape into journals. 

    The veggie bed was ignored over the summer.

    The veggie bed has a lot of weeds.

    Allow students to pull weed and tape into journals.

    Instruct students to return to looking for "problems" in the garden.

    In their journals, they should record the "effect" (the problem), "cause" and the "evidence" that led them to guess what caused the problem.

    Questions to ask to advance thinking:

    What explanation do you have for the problem(s) you are finding?

    What could have caused this problem(s)?

    What actions could be taken to prevent this problem(s)?


    Bring students back to central gathering location to share some of the cause/effect problems they found in the garden.

    Begin explaining the concept of cause and effect with some simple sentences. For example, on the board write the following two sentences:

    • The students stayed inside and did the Language Arts lesson in the classroom.

    • It was raining.

    Invite students to identify which sentence is the "cause" and which sentence is the "effect".

    Explain that the "cause" is why something happened and the "effect" is what happened as a result.

    Explain to students that their "evidence" is what allowed them to "infer" the cause of the problem they identified. This is a strategy they use when reading – putting together clues to come to a conclusion about an idea.


    Write different effects on sentence strips, then have students pick an effect and discuss or write a possible cause.


    Write causes and effects on different sentence strips. Distribute them among the students. Set a timer for one minute and see if each student can find the correct person to complete a corresponding cause and effect pair.


    Pass out a copy of the graphic organizer to each student. They will write an introduction in the first box. Remind students that a creative introductory sentence makes the reader interested in reading the paragraph.

    Students will clearly describe in detail three cause and effect relationships in the boxes labeled Idea 1, Idea 2, and Idea 3.

    Students will write a creative, clear, and interesting concluding sentence in the conclusion box.

    Extensions and Connections:

    Start a story about a character who goes on an adventure in the outdoor classroom where one event causes another. Encourage students to use signal words and phrases such as "as a result" or "due to" to help them consider the cause and effect relationships.

    Career Connections


    The IF/THEN collection is the world’s largest free digital library of authentic and relatable images and videos of women STEM innovators.  


    Dr. Jess Cramp is a shark researcher who is the founder and executive director of Sharks Pacific, an organization in the Pacific Islands region. 


    Have your students watch this video for inspiration about pursuing STEM careers, and read this profile to learn more about Dr. Simon’s story.


    Thank you for creating a culture shift in how the world perceives women in STEM.