K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Learn more

Related pages

  • Essays of definition: Lively writing through professional models: This lesson examines a professional model of a definition paper and asks students to analyze and imitate the structures of using anecdotes and cause and effect to elaborate an essay of definition.
  • Making patterns make sense: Students will analyze organizational patterns in analytical writing by reading, Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss. Students will then apply these patterns to their own writing by creating children's books about success.
  • Singing the "Song of Life": This lesson requires students to use their reading, comprehension, and analysis skills to analyze a poem and respond creatively to the selection.

Related topics


Please read our disclaimer for lesson plans.


The text of this page is copyright ©2008. See terms of use. Images and other media may be licensed separately; see captions for more information and read the fine print.

Learning outcomes


  • Students will understand causal relationships.
  • Students will understand how language is appropriate for audience and context.


  • Students will write using cause and effect statements.
  • Students will write with audience awareness.
  • Students will evaluate the work of their peers.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

3 Days


  • brochure: “Ozone: The Good and the Bad” published by the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (available through NC Wise Owl or from the Division of Air Quality website)
  • two different highlighters or markers for each student (colors should be consistent—21 red and 21 blue, for example)
  • overhead projector and pens for modeling marking text
  • plain paper for making brochures

Technology resources

Optional: Brochures may created using any word processing program if the technology is available.


  • Students should have some experience with reading nonfiction articles prior to this lesson.
  • Cause and effect should be reviewed using examples from life and from literature (What might cause a baby to cry? What are the effects of the baby’s crying?)
  • Purpose and audience should be reviewed. Ask students to explain the differences between writing to ask the school principal to address a problem and writing to ask their friends what they did over the weekend.
  • Formal language, informal language, purposeful language, and bias should be defined and/or discussed.



Discuss with students what the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources is. Have them brainstorm as a group what some of its functions might be. Have them speculate as to the purpose of the brochure “Ozone: The Good and the Bad.” Why might it have been written? Who is the audience?

Guided Practice

Have students read the ozone article. For classes with reading difficulties, read the article aloud to them. Ask them to work in groups of two or three to highlight or underline the CAUSES of ozone in one color (designate which color) and the EFFECTS of ozone in the other color. Remind them that reading the text several times as they mark it will help them to capture all the causes and effects in the brochure. You might want to mark the first couple of paragraphs with them to make sure they understand the process.

Once groups have finished, go over the article as a class. Have the students tell what they marked and why.

Then, discuss audience. Who is the audience? What is the brochure designed to do? How does the language help achieve the objective? What is the tone? Is the brochure effective? Why or why not?

Independent Practice

Students should then be asked to create their own individual brochures. Provide optional topics: dress code, tardy or attendance policies, driver’s license laws, etc. Students should also be given the option of choosing their own topics.

Prior to creating their brochures, students should decide on audience and purpose. You might want to have them get your approval before beginning the actual brochure.

Once the brochures have been completed, students should exchange with a partner. They should use the same text marking guidelines they used for the ozone article and mark their partner’s brochure for cause and effect.


After marking the brochures, students should write a one-paragraph commentary on their partner’s brochure. Provide the following guiding questions:

  1. Does the brochure contain cause and effect relationships? Provide examples.
  2. What are the purpose and audience of the brochure?
  3. Are the cause and effect relationships used effectively to support the brochure’s purpose?
  4. Is the language appropriate to the audience? Provide examples.


This lesson can be assessed informally by observing students working in pairs and individually.

Read student brochures and paragraphs for the following:

  • Can students identify cause and effect relationships?
  • Can students write using cause and effect to support their purpose?
  • Can students identify audience-appropriate language?
  • Can students write effectively using audience-appropriate language?

Supplemental information


This lesson was created as part of the NCDPI Writing Lessons for Writing Features Workshop (organization and style).

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Informational Text

        • Grade 9-10
          • 9-10.RIT.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion...
        • Writing

          • 9-10.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 9

  • Goal 2: The learner will explain meaning, describe processes, and answer research questions to inform an audience.
    • Objective 2.02: Explain commonly used terms and concepts that:
      • clearly state the subject to be defined.
      • classify the terms and identify distinguishing characteristics.
      • organize ideas and details effectively.
      • use description, comparison, figurative language, and other appropriate strategies purposefully to elaborate ideas.
      • demonstrate a clear sense of audience and purpose.
  • Goal 4: The learner will create and use standards to critique communication.
    • Objective 4.01: Evaluate the effectiveness of communication by:
      • examining the use of strategies in a presentation/product.
      • applying a set of predetermined standards.
      • creating an additional set of standards and applying them to the presentation/product.
      • comparing effective strategies used in different presentations/products.
    • Objective 4.02: Read and critique various genres by:
      • using preparation, engagement, and reflection strategies appropriate for the text.
      • identifying and using standards to evaluate aspects of the work or the work as a whole.
      • judging the impact of different stylistic and literary devices on the work.

Grade 10

  • Goal 2: The learner will evaluate problems, examine cause/effect relationships, and answer research questions to inform an audience.
    • Objective 2.02: Create responses that examine a cause/effect relationship among events by:
      • effectively summarizing situations.
      • showing a clear, logical connection among events.
      • logically organizing connections by transitioning between points.
      • developing appropriate strategies such as graphics, essays, and multi-media presentations to illustrate points.
  • Goal 4: The learner will critically interpret and evaluate experiences, literature, language, and ideas.
    • Objective 4.03: Analyze the ideas of others by identifying the ways in which writers:
      • introduce and develop a main idea.
      • choose and incorporate significant, supporting, relevant details.
      • relate the structure/organization to the ideas.
      • use effective word choice as a basis for coherence.
      • achieve a sense of completeness and closure.