This page updated 3/25/2021


Cause & Effect

Prewrite:  Brainstorm Using a Fishbone


The Goal: 


You will brainstorm using a fishbone diagram.   You will choose a cause and effect that interests you, do quick research, and add your information to the fishbone (see the next lesson for more information on quick research.)   


Then, you will use the fishbone and quick research to complete a writing scaffold.  This will help you develop a strong cause and effect essay.




1.  Make a copy of the printable and the checklist.  

2.  Use the information below and the checklist to make decisions BEFORE you start the fishbone diagram.

3.  Put any website addresses from sources you use in a separate Google doc, in preparation for your References Cited page.  There will be more information about this in an upcoming lesson.


4.  When you finish the fishbone diagram, submit a shareable link below.  Use the "text reply" icon.

full page checklist fishbone.png

Decisions to make:

1.  Purpose:  Which cause & effect would you like to present? 

Remember,  cause & effect shows how an action or idea can result in another action or idea.

  • Problem/Solution​

  • Decision/Choices

  • If/Then

  • Events/Conclusions - does not use a fishbone diagram, so this choice is not available

2.  Relationship:  Which cause & effect relationship would you like to do? 

Remember, cause & effect can have different relationships

  • One cause - one effect (1-to-1)

  • Many causes - one effect (many-to-1)

  • One cause - many effects (1-to-many) - does not use a fishbone diagram, so this choice is not available

  • Many causes - many effects (many-to-many) - does not use a fishbone diagram, so this choice is not available

3.  Essential Question:  What is your EQ?  Here are some suggestions

(Cause/Effect) 1-to-1, Many-to-1

Why is "deepfake" technology potentially so dangerous?

Why are kids becoming obese?

Why does it seem technology is invading our privacy?

(Problem/Solution) 1-to-1, Many-to-1

Why is terrorism such an effective way to get the public's attention?

Why is there a growing gap between the poor and the wealthy?

How do we get control of cyberbullying?

(Decision/Choices) 1-to-1, Many-to-1

How do I choose the right college for me?

How do I decide if college is right for me?

How can I minimize the impact of COVID-19 on my social life?

(If/Then) 1-to-1, Many-to-1

If..., then will I feel less stress and anxiety?

If..., then will I be able to play (sports, an instrument) professionally?

If..., then will I expand my computer knowledge?

4.  CategoriesWhat potential categories will you use?  Here are some suggestions

People Involved




Rule and Laws

Knowledge level

Skill level




Finally, choose the fishbone diagram file you want to use.