Exploring Cause and Effect Using Expository Texts About Natural Disasters

This lesson helps students explore the nature and structure of expository texts that focus on cause and effect using books on natural disasters. Expository texts are a key component of literacy, but they are often not getting introduced to students until the later grades. This lesson will be valuable to teachers introducing their students to more expository text. In the lesson, students begin by activating prior knowledge about cause and effect; the teacher then models discovering these relationships in a text and recording in a graphic organizer what the relationships that the class finds. Then, students work in small groups to apply what they learned using related books and then write paragraphs outlining the cause-and-effect relationships they have found. *This is crosscurricular with science since it covers natural disasters.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
GLE 0501.3.1
Write for a variety of purposes and to different audiences.
GLE 0501.5.1
Refine logic skills to facilitate learning and to enhance thoughtful reasoning.
GLE 0501.6.1
Apply appropriate skills and strategies to comprehend informational texts (e.g., pre-reading strategies, comprehension strategies, graphic organizers,...
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 

Students will:

  • Access prior knowledge by identifying what they know about cause-and-effect relationships.
  • Gain knowledge by defining cause and effect, learning key words that indicate cause-and-effect relationships in expository text, and reviewing a text containing these relationships during a whole-class exercise.
  • Apply what they have learned about cause and effect and demonstrate comprehension of it by locating cause-and-effect relationships within expository text, recording these findings on two graphic organizers, and then using the organizers to write a paragraph.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 

Helpful Hints


  • Danger! Volcanoes by Seymour Simon (SeaStar Books; 2002)
  • Computer with Internet access
  • LCD projector