The Teaching Cause and Effect Routine

"Teaching Cause and Effect Routine manual cover photo"

Teachers use the Cause-and-Effect Routine to help students engage in higher-order reasoning and to think critically about an event, action, idea, topic or procedure, important key terms necessary for understanding causes and effects, and to summarize understanding.

Students whose teachers used the Cause-and-Effect Routine had significantly higher test scores on knowledge of the cognitive strategy steps, use of the strategic procedures, and note-taking than students in the comparison condition. Significant correlations were found between both student knowledge of the strategy and note-taking, and their ability to apply cause-and-effect reasoning in a study in 7th and 8th grade science and social studies classrooms.

Teaching Cause and Effect, an iBook created for use on an iPad, is available in the iTunes store. It is also available as a PDF in the KUCRL Online StoreProfessional development is recommended, see the SIM Event page for sessions.


  • Bulgren, J., Minarik, D., & Washburn, J. (2024). Higher order thinking and reasoning through primary source document analysis. In S. Waring (Ed.), Teaching with primary sources for cultural understanding, civic mindedness, and democracy (pp. 47-63). Teachers College Press.