top of page

Graphic Organizers and Writing: Cause and Effect Tree

By Pitriani Undjat, Indonesia

20 minutes

Lesson Plan


  1. Divide students into small groups

  2. Distribute four pictures that have cause and effect relationships. For example, photos of cigarettes and throat cancer. Ask groups to discuss the pictures and the relationships between them. 

  3. Introduce the cause and effect tree. The tree acts as a graphic organizer to separate cause and effect statements. 

  4. Ask students to develop sentences that form cause and effect relationships. Always model some examples first. Once the students have developed correct sentences, ask them to write them down.  

  5. Have students attach cause sentences on the branches on the left side of the tree and effect sentences on the right side.

  6. Ask students to share their cause and effect sentences. For example, “Hunters are killing too many tigers, so they are becoming extinct.” 


  • Discussing the pictures with cause and effect relationships helps to scaffold the process.

  • Always encourage students to guess what and why something happened. This guides them to think about cause and effect relationships.  

  • Always model first, showing students examples before asking them to write their own. 

  • If your students are ready, you can use the cause and effect tree to form outlines for writing paragraphs or even essays. 


Teacher: Pitriani Undjat, Indonesia

Originally from Central Borneo, Pitri graduated from Palangkaraya University. She taught English in a remote area in West Papua for 11 years before moving back to her hometown, where she continues to teach English at Vocational High School 2 Tamiang Layang, Central Kalimantan.

bottom of page