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Lesson Plan

Reading and Writing About Pollution to Understand Cause and Effect

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Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Pauletta Clark

Sylva, North Carolina


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



In this lesson, third grade students access prior knowledge about water pollution before exploring the topic further using read-alouds. They then complete a sequencing graphic organizer using a story of a fish and its journey from the mountains to a polluted waterway. Finally, students' understanding of cause and effect is reinforced using a hands-on experiment, art project, and graphic organizer.

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Leu, D.J., Kinzer, C.K., Coiro, J., & Cammack, D.W. (2004). Toward a theory of new literacies emerging from the Internet and other information and communication technologies. In R.B. Ruddell, & N.J. Unrau (Eds.), Theoretical models and processes of reading (5th ed.). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

  • Change defines our work as both literacy educators and researchers. By teaching a student to read, we change the world.

  • The use of the Internet helps children learn about problems and issues that face our world that they would not be exposed to otherwise.

Varsalona, D. (2006). Teaching the past to promote a better future. Reading Today, 23, 46.

  • Sharing lessons of the past with students helps them develop questions about what is currently happening in the world.

  • Teaching students about the mistakes of the past encourages them to think about what can be done to make the future different.

Wood, K., & Endres, C. (2004). Motivating student interest with the Imagine, Elaborate, Predict, and Confirm (IEPC) strategy. The Reading Teacher, 58(4), 346357.

"In order to make predictions about a text, students must have prior knowledge or experiences about the topic and a means or a reason to retrieve latent information and knowledge."

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