ALEX Lesson Plan


Cause and Effect of Dams

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Brooke Love
System: Chickasaw City
School: Chickasaw City Elementary School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 35409


Cause and Effect of Dams


Students will discuss the definition of cause and effect, and the teacher will explicitly explain the definition of cause and effect as well as introduce keywords used in determining cause and effect. Students will be introduced to an informational text about dams. The teacher will model determining a cause and effect relationship found in the text. Next, the students will practice determining cause and effect in the same text. Students will use a cause and effect graphic organizer to identify cause and effect relationships within the informational text.

This unit was created as part of the ALEX Interdisciplinary Resource Development Summit. 

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 3
12 ) Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause and effect. [RI.3.3]

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
ELA.AAS.3.12- Identify events, ideas, or steps in an informational text pertaining to time, sequence, or cause and effect.

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

I can become familiar with keywords that help me identify cause and effects. 

I can use a cause and effect graphic organizer to organize my findings. 

I can analyze the text, "Dams and Hydropower", and connect the causes of an event to its effects.



Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Students will need highlighters, sticky notes, and pencils.  

A copy for each student: the Cause and Effect Graphic Organizer (attachment), Cause and Effect Summative Assessment Rubric (, "Where is Hoover Dam" Wonderopolis text (, and "Dams and Hydropower" text ( 

Technology Resources Needed:

Students will need computers, laptops, or tablets. 

The teacher will need a computer and an interactive whiteboard or projector to display the "Dams and Hydropower" text, "Where Is Hoover Dam?" video,  and to display the Kahoot game questions and answers. 

“Dams and Hydropower”, Idaho Public Television

Kahoot Cause and Effect:

Once you have an account (, search "Cause and Effect Quiz Third Grade":  or use this link to pull up the game.

History Channel’s video, “Where Is Hoover Dam?"

Cause and effect summative rubric: 

 Wonderopolis informational text:


Prior to the lesson, students should know what a dam is. A barrier built to block the flow of water is called a dam. 

Students should know who their elbow partner is. This is someone whose elbows are near another student's elbows. The teacher may need to assign elbow partners prior to the lesson. This ensures each student has someone to discuss information from the lesson with. It is best to group students in pairs for this strategy.

Students should also be able to whisper read. During whisper reading, the class choral reads with the teacher, but the students whisper as they read. This ensures that the teacher leads the reading, and students who read at a lower level than the teacher will be able to follow the teacher's lead. 

The teacher should make each student their own copy of the text: “Dams and Hydropower”, Idaho Public Television,

The teacher will need to make copies of the cause and effect graphic organizer found in attachments. The teacher can either plan to project the teacher's example of the graphic organizer under a document camera or recreate it on chart paper. The organizer should be created prior to the lesson. 

The teacher will need to create an account on Kahoot.

Once the teacher has created an account on Kahoot, the teacher should pull up search "Cause and Effect Quiz Third Grade":  or use this link to pull up the game. so the game is ready to be played. 

Copies of the Cause and Effect Summative Assessment Rubric should be made for each student.  

Copies of the Wonderopolis text, "Where is Hoover Dam?", should be ready for students before the lesson.  



Before: The teacher will ask students, “What do we mean when we talk about cause and effect?”

Allow think time. Here the students are silently thinking on their own for about 20 seconds. Next, the teacher will have students share with elbow partners, then call on 2 or 3 students to share their background knowledge of cause and effect.

The teacher will explain that cause is the reason that something happened. What happened is the effect.

We should look for keywords to help us find cause and effect. Some of the keywords are because, if, so, then, since, before, and after.

For example: The child had ice cream for dessert, so he was happy. The cause was “the child had ice cream”. The effect was “he was happy”.  

This next example shows that cause and effect are not always placed in order. “Because the child was given ice cream, she was happy.”


Students will view the History Channel’s video, “Where Is Hoover Dam?" video will give students a visual and background knowledge prior to determining the cause and effects of dams.

The teacher should show the images on the following site.

The teacher will ask students to write the answer to the following question on a Post-it note, "Why do you think these dams were built?"

Next, the teacher will introduce the text, “Dams and Hydropower” ( The teacher will explain that this text has several cause and effect relationships throughout. The students will be given their own copy of the text.

The students will follow along as their teacher reads the first section, “What Is a Dam?” Next, the students will whisper read with the teacher as they again read the first section. Finally, students will be asked to highlight cause and effects they have found in this section of the text.

Students will then be asked to share their findings with their elbow partner. The teacher will call on a student to give an example of cause and effect found in the text. Students should look for cause and effect keywords. 

The teacher will introduce the cause and effect graphic organizer. The teacher will model completing the first section in the graphic organizer. Cause: Beavers build dams using sticks and mud. Effect: Water pools behind the sticks and mud resulting in a new pond being built.

Next, the teacher will ask, “Since in deep water there is more water piled up. What is the effect?”

Students will then practice completing the cause and effect graphic organizer, with their previous elbow partner, referring to the "What is a Dam?" section and "Why are Dams Built?" (Students will independently read the "Why Are Dams Built?" section.) The teacher will walk around the classroom to observe and check for understanding of how to determine cause and effect, and the teacher will determine if the students can connect causes to effects. 

After: The class will play Kahoot game on class computers or tablets. The class will compete in groups. Groups should be made of 2-3 team members. They will play a cause and effect game where they will identify causes and effects.  


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Assessment Strategies

Formative: Students can determine cause and effect by providing an example of each. The teacher will observe this as students are working with partners as they complete the graphic organizer on the first two sections of the "Dams and Hydropower" text.

Summative: The teacher will assess the students' graphic organizer using the cause and effect summative rubric: 


Students will refer to the Wonderopolis informational text: Students will independently complete the attached cause and effect graphic organizer. Next, students will create a storyboard demonstrating the cause and effects determined and will present this to a small group. 


The teacher will provide assistance by helping students who need remediation by circulating throughout the classroom as the students complete their graphic organizer. 

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.