Teacher's Guide

Cause-Effect Relationships


Estimated Time:
This lesson will take one period to introduce and demonstrate. Time may be spent in subsequent periods to share and critique the cause-effect statements. At the conclusion of a unit of study on Alaska's American period, students may work in teams to reinforce the knowledge of previously written cause-effect relationships or to draft new statements. This lesson may be adjusted and adapted many ways.

Rationale:
Students in a one semester Alaska History class will be limited in how much content they can cover. The teacher and students will necessarily have to pick and choose topics, perhaps even having different topics covered by different students, with each student becoming knowledgeable about one topic but having no sense of its connection to others. The drafting of cause-effect statements in conjunction with other students provides a mechanism to demonstrate connections between what would otherwise appear to students as a series of unconnected events. The thinking is highly analytical, and the writing involved may be integrated with the students' language arts/English classes.

Materials needed:

  1. Poster which lists criteria for high quality cause-effect statements - See lesson item #3.
  2. Copies of Cause-Effect Statement Guide and Cause-Effect Statement Planning Chart.
  3. Copies of cause-effect 'check list'- for students to refer to and to clip to their statements. (criteria check list copied onto index cards or small pieces of paper)
  4. 3" x 5" index cards - 4 colors - grouped into these categories by color and labeled with the topics listed below. It is helpful to get the cards laminated so that they may be reused.

Economy:
(The teacher may have to choose the most significant of these topics based on time, number of students and resources.)

  • Logging/Timber industry
  • Herding
  • Farming
  • Trapping
  • Trading
  • Gold Mining
  • Copper Mining
  • Coal Mining
  • Oil Industry
  • Whaling
  • Sealing
  • Salmon Fisheries
  • Herring Fishery
  • Bottom Fisheries
  • Tourism
  • Tin, Marble, Mercury, Platinum Mining

Transportation/Communication
(Do not delete any of these topics.)

  • Road/Trails
  • River Transportation
  • Railroads
  • Ocean Transportation
  • Aviation
  • Communication

Society
(Again, the teacher may need to choose the most significant topics.)

  • Health and Medicine
  • Education
  • Religion
  • Population and Settlement
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Recreation
  • Art
  • Literature
  • Science
  • Cultural Institutions

World War II
(This topic should be on its own card - with a color distinct from the others.)

Prior Reading/Learning
This activity draws heavily on content from the text, Alaska's Heritage by Antonsen and Hanable. Much of this content is also covered on the course site in the unit narrative in America's Territory, Governing Alaska, and Modern AK units.

Lesson Plan:
The task is to for students to write cause-effect statements using information learned individually or in collaboration with other students. As students work through the AK History and Culture Studies America's Territory unit, the teacher may first have them write cause-effect statements by topical area (ex. economy topic linked to an economy topic; transportation topic linked to transportation topic etc.). As students learn more, they can expand the connections by crossing topics (ex. economy topic linked to transportation topic; transporation topic linked to society topic; economy topic linked to WW II). Finally, as a culminating activity, students are free to make links across all topics, or link more than two topics together in cause-effect statements that encompass the entire unit.

Lesson

  1. Discuss with students that history is a series of interrelated events, processes, movements etc. and that to learn about events in isolation without coming to understand the cause, and the effect, is to miss the point of historical study.
  2. Explain cause-effect statements; that cause is equivalent to the "reason" and that effect is equivalent to the "result". Demonstrate by making relationships using everyday life situations with such examples as homework, social life, grades, jobs, family obligations. See Cause-Effect Statement Guide.
  3. Discuss what criteria make a good cause-effect statement (time/place, valid connection, historical accuracy, clarity of presentation). See attached Cause-Effect Statement Guide for examples. Create a list of the criteria and use that list consistently for evaluation.
  4. Use two topics that the students have studied, and demonstrate the linkage (ex. gold mining and logging). Solicit information to provide the "ingredients" for the statement. A simple chart on the board may help. See Cause-Effect Statement Planning Chartfor an example of a chart for students to use as they collect data for their statements. Students should ask:
    1. Is there a valid connection?
    2. What is the connection? What is the cause, and what is the effect?
    3. What is the correct time and place?
  5. Work with the students to put the ingredients into a coherent statement. This is often as challenging as determining the correct content. Refer to the Cause-Effect Statement Guide for a way to start the students, using a "Because__.then__" form and gradually working toward a more sophisticated statement.
  6. Students may be assigned to write statements on their own, in pairs, or in teams. Students should be invited to share statements and other students should critique them, using these previously established criteria:
    Cause-Effect Statement Evaluation
    1. Two or more topics linked?
    2. Linkage valid?
    3. Time and place included?
    4. Statement historically accurate?
    5. Standard structure and grammar?
    6. Fluency of statement?
    7. Sufficient information for understanding?

    Feedback can be made orally or in writing using this list. Teacher and students may attach the check list and simply note those items that need correction/editing/refinement. Students should be allowed to continue to work on these statements; it will take time and thought to polish the statements.
  7. At various points during the unit of study, hand out the index cards to teams of students so that they may work together to build statements. The cards may be dealt out in specific combinations, or randomly, and in various quantities, as the teacher determines the objective for each session. The building of statements may be done competitively between the teams; the task may be timed...there are many strategies for using these cards. The check list for cause-effect statements should be adhered to so that high quality statements are created.
  8. Final evaluation - Submission of edited, refined cause-effect statements that demonstrate a working knowledge of the interrelationships between aspects of Alaska history and culture for this period. Emphasize quality over quantity.

Alaska Standards:
History: A, B, C
AK History: AH. PPE 4, AH CPD3, AH ICGP 4, AH. ICGP 11, AH. CC 3