Writing a Five Paragraph Essay

"Cause and effect" means the relationship between two things when one thing makes the other thing happen. For example, if we eat too much fatty food, we get heart disease. Eating fatty food is the CAUSE; heart disease is the EFFECT.

In school subjects such as history, geography and science, we often need to talk/write about cause-effect relationships. For example:

Pollution from cars, factories and power stations causes acid rain. The rain dissolves whatever surface it falls on, often washing harmful minerals into lakes and rivers and thus killing many fish. In addition, whole forests are destroyed when such minerals attack tree roots.

Task 1: Separating causes and effects

Use the notes below to complete the Cause/Effect table.

CAUSE

EFFECT

 

Soil erosion occurs

 

 

 

The amount of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere has increased by 31% in the past 100 years.

 

 

 
 

The ice caps will melt and sea levels will rise.

Sea levels will rise.

 

  • Many low-lying regions of the world will be submerged.
  • The country gets severe annual floods.
  • Large areas of forest are cut down by logging companies.
  • Ivory and other animal horns still fetch a high price in some parts of the world.
  • We are very dependent on fossil fuels, especially for vehicles and factories.
  • Bangladesh is a low-lying country with many huge rivers and frequent cyclones.
  • Scientists estimate that the world’s average temperature will rise by 5.80C over the next 100 years.
  • There is a steady decline in elephant and rhino populations.
 

Task 2: Connectors of result

When we write cause and effect statements, we often use words/phrases called connectors of result:

so, thus, therefore, Consequently, As a result, For this (these) reason(s), Because of this …, due to …

We also use expressions like these:

Resulting in (+noun), leading to (+noun), causing …, with the result that …,

_____ing … (see the example of "washing" in the Acid Rain text above)

Examples

  • Fossil fuels will probably become exhausted during this century, so scientists are exploring alternative energy sources.
  • In 1980 China introduced a policy of rewarding parents who have only one child. As a result, the population growth rate has slowed significantly in cities.
  • Many regions of Asia receive heavy rainfall, resulting in floods. Consequently, village houses are often built on stilts and have steep roofs.

Connect the causes/effects from the table above, using connectors of result. Write complete sentences. You should use all the connectors at least once.

Task 3: Bangladesh

This task is based on an exercise in the Grade 6 "Development" module. Use the notes below to make sentences that explain some of the reasons why Bangladesh is a poor country.

  • Low-lying country, numerous large rivers, cyclones
4 Severe flooding (+ waterborne diseases)

  • Poor communications (roads, TV/radio etc.)
4 Difficult to spread information about improved farming methods

  • Very small farms
4 Low crop yields

  • A shortage of food
4 Infant mortality = 134 per 1,000 (compared with Japan: 7 per 1,000)

  • Approx. 70% of the population work in agriculture
4 the country’s GNP is low - not much income to use on development

Example

Bangladesh is a low-lying country with numerous large rivers and frequent cyclones. Consequently, it suffers from severe flooding and this often leads to diseases such as cholera and typhoid.

Task 4: Global Warming

Research the topic of global warming. Make notes that explain causes and effects:

CAUSE

EFFECT

Power stations, factories and burning forests emit carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere.

Average temperatures increase.

You may find that some of your pairs form a kind of chain:

more CO2 à rising temperatures à melting ice à rising sea levels …

Arrange your cause/effect pairs in a suitable order. The most important should come first. In addition, some of the pairs are related (see the "chain" above).

Task 5: Writing about Global Warming

Now it is time to write about global warming, explaining what causes it and what some of the effects are (or are likely to be). You will need to support your claims with examples. The following connectors may be useful:

For example, … For instance, … …such as…, One example of this is …,

Example

The rise in world temperatures will result in changes to animal habitats. For example, tropical species are likely to appear in Europe and North America.

You should aim to write around 100-200 words. You could start with a definition:

Average temperatures around the world are gradually rising. This is known as global warming. There are various reasons for the problem, but the main one is …

  • Begin with the most important cause/s and explain the effects.
  • Continue with a more detailed explanation.
  • Finish with a warning or call for action.