"DETERMINING CAUSE-EFFECT RELATIONSHIPS"
http://www.bethelsd.org/resources/static/thinkingSkillsGuide/skills/cause_effect.htm DETERMINING CAUSE-EFFECT RELATIONSHIPS A skill used to recognize causal relationships between events. Student Definition Figuring out how one thing causes another. Synonyms Because... If... then... Replicated results Since... therefore... So Why Teach Being able to identify cause-effect relationships is integral to decision making, comprehension, hypothesizing, determining consequences and outcomes, problem solving, and scientific research. Determining interaction with one's environment. Applications Comprehending what one reads Conducting scientific research Doing character analysis Learning more effective courses of action Understanding interpersonal events Objectives Students will be able to: Identify cause-effect relationships in written, visual, auditory, and tactile forms. Identify cause-effect relationships in natural events. Identify cause-effect relationships in everyday life experiences. Metacognitive Objective Students will be able to: Reflect upon their thinking processes when using the skill and examine its effectiveness. Skill Steps Inferential http://www.bethelsd.org/resources/static/thinkingSkillsGuide/skills/cause_effect.htm 1. Identify the piece to work with. 2. Identify the example (event, effect, result) to be analyzed for the causeeffect relationships. 3. Consider the similar events (effects, result observed in the past). 4. Consider causes known in those past experiences (events, effects, results). 5. Decide if the past experiences match the new event. 6. If there is no similar event, look for a cause that makes sense in this context. 7. Identify the most probable causes of the effect (with other people, if possible). 8. Acknowledge and analyze the level(s) of inference in this conclusion of cause and effect. Metacognitive Step 9. Reflect upon the thinking process used when performing this skill and examine its effectiveness: What worked? What did not work? How might you do it differently next time? Scientific Identify the natural event to analyze for cause-effect relationship. Make repeated observations of the event. List the factors (variables) involved in the event. Reduce to one (if possible) the variables active in the testing: a. Maintain a control sample in which no change is applied to the event. b. Use a large sample size or large number of measure. c. If living things are being observed, randomizing the sample is desirable. The event must occur repeatedly when the variable is applied. (Note: Scientists usually look for statistical significance at this point before a cause-effect relationship is accepted. Repeat #8 from above. Metacognitive Step (See Step #5 above) Vocabulary o o Control - sample used to verify the experiment's result or effect. This is done by keeping the control sample unchanged as a standard to compare with the experimental sample. Debrief - review and evaluate process, using both cognitive and affective domains to achieve closure of the thinking activity. http://www.bethelsd.org/resources/static/thinkingSkillsGuide/skills/cause_effect.htm o o o o Level of inference - an expression of how far removed from the conclusion is the original data. For example, the following constitutes three levels of inference: this leads to this, which in turn leads to this, which in turn causes this. The greater the levels of inference, the less confidence there can be in a cause effect relationship between the original cause and the final conclusion. Even though each cause-effect step can be linked, there is the possibility of error and/or other causes at each step. Metacognition - the act of consciously considering one's own thought processes by planning, monitoring, and evaluating them (thinking about your thinking). Statistical significance - a measure of the confidence in the cause-effect relationship. for example, a significance of 0.05, the minimum usually accepted for research purposes, means that the effect is due to chance 5% of the time and related to the cause 95% of the time. Variable - factor that can be changed in the experimental model (technically, an independent variable). Possible Procedure for Teaching the Skill Inferential Introduction 7. Present: When (I study), (I do well on tests). If (I stick a pin in a balloon), then (it will pop). (I am hungry), therefore (I eat). (There was a loud noise) because (the balloon popped). 8. Define cause and effect with students. 9. With the students, circle the causes underlying the effects in the sentences above. Guided Practice 10. Given a different event, have the students identify a cause-effect relationship. Discuss rationale. Applying the Skill 11. Choose another event to examine for cause and effect. 12. Discuss similar events observed in the past. 13. Discuss causes known in those past experiences. 14. Identify the most probable causes of the effect. 15. If there is no similar event, look for causes that make sense in this event. 16. Consider the repeated occurrence of the effect each time the cause is initiated. http://www.bethelsd.org/resources/static/thinkingSkillsGuide/skills/cause_effect.htm 17. Make a statement about the plausible cause of the effect and acknowledge that inference (or the levels of inference for older students) is part of this conclusion. Scientific Choose for study a physical or biological phenomenon or simulation that can be repeated, such as: Celery and food coloring Electric circuits Plant growth with or without water, light, etc. Molding bread Doppler effect Computer simulations such as: Lunar Greenhouse Paper Plane Pilot Mario Brothers Observe the phenomenon repeatedly. . List several possible variables for the occurrence of the effect. Choose one variable for testing purposes. Conduct an experiment, keeping all factors the same except the variable being tested for cause and effect. Test the variable with numerous samples of the same kind (plant, bread, etc.). With the class, discuss that since the effect is occurring repeatedly, without exception, when the variable is applied, there may be a cause-effect relationship. Acknowledge whether inference is a part of this conclusion (or levels of inference for older students). (Note: Scientists would also look for generalizability of the cause-effect. Does it operate in other settings?) Integrating the Skill into the Curriculum Have students use computer programs such as Lunar Greenhouse, Mario Brothers, and Paper Plane Pilot to do analysis of cause-effect relationships. Have students analyze characters in literature through the process of inference, or have the study how certain events cause the building of character traits. Have students study particular behaviors as causes that elicit particular events. Ask students to analyze particular actions they may take, such as managing their time, that will have positive effects on their academic achievement. Background Information o o o o o o http://www.bethelsd.org/resources/static/thinkingSkillsGuide/skills/cause_effect.htm Learning how to assess cause-effect relationships is an important skill to enable students to separate fact from speculation and opinion. Without training in this skill, students tend to jump to conclusions. The skill is important in learning how to evaluate how much confidence to place in cause-effect relationships asserted by texts, other people, etc. Further, it is important for them to learn about the care that must be taken before accepting the cause-effect relationship. As a final caution, an experimentation of cause-effect should not be seen as a license to ignore or dispute a statement from a person of authority, but only as a tool for analysis, and perhaps to question diplomatically if appropriate to the situation. Behaviorally, students need to be able to link cause-effect relationships so that they can take credit for (or own) both their sucesses and failures, as an example: If I study, I will improve my achievement in a particular area. If students are unable to recognize that they can create their own cause for a desired effect, they cannot take charge of their learning. they must have an internal locus of control and learn that their actions create result.