Cause and Effect: Using a Multi-Flow Map in a Science Center

Follow Me on Pinterest

Why Study Cause and Effect?

Scientific investigation and experimentation is all about connecting things. In  order for students to connect two events, or a treatment and its effects, students have to understand that things stay the same, unless acted upon by something else, and that things have the ability to change the behavior of other things.

Understanding cause and effect is central to scientific thinking and exploration. Photo Credit: Alastros Oistros, 2005, via Creative Commons

Understanding cause and effect is a complex skill, involving many subskills:

  • Direct observation of objects and their attributes
  • Observation of objects through the use of simple tests and tools
  • Connection of two events
  • Making predictions based on facts, observations and past experiences
  • Evaluation of the probability and possibility of past and future events, based on observations, the body of scientific knowledge and past experiences
  • Understanding and communication of scientific ideas in words, diagrams and writing
  • Understanding causality and correlation

In short, the understanding of cause and effect, and communication about it, is at the heart of scientific experimentation and investigation.

Tools for Communication Cause and Effect

David Hyerle has established a system of eight Thinking Maps to organize thinking around distinct cognitive processes. One of these maps, the Multi-Flow Map, is specifically created, by the learner, to demonstrate cause-and-effect relationships. (Please click on the link, below, for resources prepared by Wappinger Central School District, in Fishkill, New York, for teaching about the Multi-Flow Map and using it with students:

The Multi-Flow Map

The Multi-Flow Map: useful for demonstrating an understanding of cause and effect relationships.

Using a Multi-Flow Map in the Classroom

This month, we have been using some typical October events to teach questioning:

  • the formation of fruits and seeds from flowers
  • fall color development
  • bird migration
  • changes in the weather

Here are some ways that you could use a multi-flow map in a science center, to provide independent practice in showing cause and effect. Provide the object identified, blank observations sheets and the directions for making a multi-flow map (see the link, above). Leave “cue cards” with the words “What happened here?” and “What will happen next?” Provide a basket for completed work, or create a class bulletin board for students to combine all their thinking into a classroom display (use different colored cards for causes, the event, and effects, and connect with string — leave a stapler at the bulletin board to facilitate student independence).

Fruit and Seed formation

  • an apple with a poke in the side
  • a cut or bitten apple that has begun to discolor
  • an apple with a bruise or rotten spot
  • a photograph of a chipmunk with full cheek pouches
  • a photograph of a blue jay with an acorn in its beak

Fall color formation

  • a branchlet with leaves in different stages of color development
  • a skeletonized leaf
  • a leaf with scorched leaf margins
  • a leaf with sooty mold, powdery mildew, or leaf spot
  • a leaf with insect galls

Bird migration

  • a photograph of geese in V-formation
  • a photograph of blackbirds congregating near a feeder
  • a photograph of vultures climbing a thermal
  • a photograph of goldfinches or other bird in transition plumage

Weather changes

  • a photograph of flooding after Hurricane Sandy
  • a photograph of a tree on downed power lines
  • a photograph of houses collapsed on a beach after a hurricane
  • a photograph of a person chopping wood
  • a photograph of wood smoke coming from a chimney
  • a photograph of  a pile of student jackets on the playground

A Note About Centers

Whenever possible, use real objects, and any relevant tools, instead of photographs or pictures. When photographs or pictures are used, make them relevant to the students. For example, after our experiences with Hurricane Sandy,  I would photograph downed trees or flooding in my town, or the school’s flooded playground, instead of another location. Always use whatever has the most meaning to your students.

Use available, familiar items whenever designing independent learning centers. Photo credit: (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2011

 

 

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It

What's new in your science classroom?