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cause and effect

All science is concerned with the relationship of cause and effect. Each scientific discovery increases mans ability to predict the consequences of his actions and thus his ability to control future events.

In this lesson, youll see that because things happen in sequence, one thing often makes the next happen, and you can sometimes predict whatll happen next!

THINGS DONT JUST happen; living things and forces make them happen.
Whatever or whoever makes something happen is the cause; what happens is the effect. For example, a singer hits a very high note and a glass shatters. Vibrating sound waves are the cause; broken glass is the effect. As you read, look for clues to what makes things happen. Authors may use words to signal a cause-and-effect text structure. Words like because or since may indicate a cause, and so or therefore indicate an effect. Examples I missed the bus because I overslept. I overslept, so I missed the bus. In the examples above, the signal words point out that oversleeping was the cause and missing the bus was the effect. But sometimes there are no signal words. Readers must gure out the cause-and-effect relationship from the text.


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Example A car drove through a huge puddle and splashed water all over me! In this example, tires splashing water are the cause; a wet person is the effect. A cause may have more than one effect and an effect more than one cause. Example I was late for school because I overslept and a car splashed water on me on my way to school, so I had to go back home and change clothes! As you read, use a cause-and-effect chart to keep track of how things or people affect others. Cause It rained all day. I didnt study. Effect The parade was canceled. I failed the exam.

Think about it. Couldnt you predict that, since it rained all day, that parade would be canceled, and if someone didnt study, he or she might fail an exam? Figuring out why something happened and thinking about what might possibly happen next gets you involved and helps you better understand what you read.

P R AC T I C E 1 : T H E M AG I C O F M E R L I N
Read the selection, and then answer the questions that follow. (1) There are many legends about King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, and the wizard Merlin. Of all the characters in these tales, many people nd Merlin the most fascinating, being a man of mystery and magic. Its said that Merlin could talk to the animals in the forest and predict the future for kings. But unfortunately, he wasnt able to predict his own future with the Lady of the Lake! According to a popular legend, as Merlin walked through the forest one day, he rst met the Lady of the Lake. Some say he predicted hed nd her there that day, beside the forest lake that was her home, and thats why he went there. The Lady was believed to be a great sorceress herself, although not as great as Merlin. She was amazed by his powers and promised to love him if he would teach her his magic. The Lady of the Lake was quite beautiful, and Merlin fell under her spell, so he agreed.


cause and effect



Merlin began to teach the Lady of the Lake his most magical tricks. And for a while, she seemed happy. But she continually urged him to conjure up even greater magical feats. And she was constantly looking for some way to keep Merlin always at her side. She wanted to make sure that if he did come up with any new ideas, hed have to share them with her! One day, the Lady of the Lake asked Merlin to build her a magical castle. She wanted it to be so strong that no one and nothing could ever destroy it. And she requested Merlin to make her castle invisible. That might have seemed a tall order for some, but Merlin did his magic. He built her a fabulous castle by the lake and then used his wizards powers to make the building invisible. Anyone traveling through the forest would see only the lake and not the Ladys beautiful, enchanted castle. Merlin even taught the Lady how she could make her castle appear or disappear to make sure that no one could get in or come out of it unless she wished! The Lady of the Lake was very happy, for a while. Then she realized that Merlin still had the power to make her castle appear or disappear as well. That worried her. What if he left for good someday? She would no longer share all of the magic secrets he knew or would know in the future! So one day, as she and Merlin sat beneath a tree in the forest, she lulled him to sleep with a sweet song. As Merlin slept, the Lady of the Lake walked around him nine times, chanting and weaving a magical spell. When he awoke, she led him to the castle. There she locked him in an enchanted tower, from which he was powerless to leave, but which she could visit or leave at will! She had used Merlins own magic against him, and he never left her enchanted, imprisoning castle again.




1. Many people think Merlin is the most interesting character in King Arthur legends because a. he was not a knight. b. he was a wizard. c. he lived in a forest. d. his name had six letters. 2. What caused Merlin to walk by the lake one day? a. He predicted a bear was caught in a trap in the forest. b. He predicted it was a new path home from school. c. He predicted hed meet the Lady of the Lake there. d. He predicted he could gather enough apples for a pie.


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3. Because the Lady was so beautiful, Merlin a. fell under her spell. b. was frightened and ran away. c. pushed her into the water. d. turned her into a tree. 4. Why did the Lady want Merlin always at her side? a. so she could teach him all of the magic tricks she knew b. so the lake would always be lled with water c. so that her servants would be paid well d. so shed always know all the magic secrets he knew

P R AC T I C E 2 : T H E P L A N E T C H A N G E S
Read the selection, and then answer the questions that follow. (1) Look at Earths landscape today. Then look at it next month. See the difference? Well, maybe not. Earth is constantly changing, but some changes are slower than others. Here are a few examples of how our planet changes every day. Deep inside Earth is a huge pool of magmamelted rock and gas. If the pressure underground builds up, the magma moves up and out of an opening in Earths crust. The liquid spills or explodes as lava, then ows downhill, destroying everything in its path. When the lava cools and hardens, it enlarges old land or creates new islands in the sea! Heavy rainfall can weaken soil and rock. If this happens on a hillside, the soil and rocks can break loose and slide all the way down. A landslide can topple trees, demolish houses, and dump soil to build up Earths surface in a new location. Sometimes piles of snow loosen and quickly tumble down a mountain, picking up rocks as they go. Avalanches scrape the surface of the mountain and change it forever. The rocks and soil pushed along with the snow build up Earths surface below, once the snow melts. Every year we hear of places where heavy rainfall or melted ice and snow run into rivers, causing them to overow. The ensuing oods ow across the land, washing away rich soil and sometimes changing the path of the river itself.

cause and effect


Earthquakes very quickly destroy some landforms and create others. Undersea earthquakes can cause tsunamis, or tidal waves, with water reaching as high as 50 feet (15 m). When the water reaches land, it crashes ashore and rearranges the landscape. Even lightning, tornadoes, and hurricanes quickly change Earths surface. Lightning may cause forest res that burn down trees and homes, and destroy land. Windstorms like tornadoes and hurricanes blow away soil and rip up trees, attening or tearing away the land around them. As you see, nature is always changing Earths surface somewhere. Some changes are big. Some are little. But all can be seen, if you look hard enough! 5. What causes magma to move up and out of Earth as lava? a. heavy rains and winds b. snow and ice c. pressure build-up underground d. pressure from strong wind 6. Which is an effect of an avalanche? a. Lava ows downhill, destroying everything in its path. b. Once the snow melts, rocks and soil pushed along build up Earths surface. c. The water reaches land, crashes ashore, and rearranges the landscape. d. Forest res burn down trees and homes, and destroy land. 7. How can windstorms change Earths surface? a. by blowing away soil b. by ripping away trees c. by attening and tearing away land around trees d. all of the above 8. Heavy rainfall on a hillside can cause a. a hurricane. b. an avalanche. c. a tsunami. d. a landslide.


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9. When heavy rain or melting snow and ice run into a river, they can cause a. a ood. b. an earthquake. c. a hurricane. d. a tornado. 10. Which can you most likely predict? a. There will be an earthquake today. b. In ve years, Earths surface will look different than it does today. c. Earths surface will always look the same. d. In ve years, Earths surface will look exactly as it does today.

Read the selection, and then answer the questions that follow. (1) Trading was a source of great wealth to fourteenth-century merchants in Venice, Italy. Ships brought spices, silk, and other goods from Asia for merchants to sell to wealthy customers. With such expensive items, a merchant could become very rich in just a few years. But it took just one storm at sea or pirate attack to lose an entire cargo. To lessen the risk, the merchants formed trade unions to provide protection against loss. That was the beginning of insurance. Each merchant paid a certain amount of money to be used to help any member who suffered a loss. Soon, merchants in other countries began to provide insurance on their goods. The rst life insurance policy was sold in England in the sixteenth century. A century later, the rst re insurance became available. And in 1752, Benjamin Franklin founded a U.S. insurance company so people didnt lose everything in a re. Today, thousands of U.S. companies insure businesses and individuals for everything from life and re to identity theft.



11. Venetian merchants in the fourteenth century became very wealthy because a. pirates attacked their ships. b. Benjamin Franklin sold them insurance. c. they sold spices, silks, and other goods from Asia to rich customers. d. they had life insurance.

cause and effect


12. Venetian merchants wanted to lessen their risk of losing goods, so a. they hired pirates to steal some for them. b. they closed their shops every Saturday. c. they moved to America. d. they formed trade unions. 13. Benjamin Franklin founded a U.S. insurance company so that a. people could buy silk from Asia. b. people didnt lose everything in a re. c. people could join the actors union. d. people lost everything in a re.

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