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"Two Travelers and the Bear": A Lesson on Aesop's Fable

Grade Levels: 3 - 5

INTRODUCTION
This lesson provides students with an opportunity to recognize cause-and-effect relationships in a fable by Aesop.

OBJECTIVES
Students will:

  • recognize that a cause is why something happens and that an effect is what happens.
  • keep track of the multiple effects of a single cause or the multiple causes for a single effect.
  • use these skills to comprehend and appreciate the text better.

SUGGESTED TIME ALLOWANCE
This lesson can be divided into two or three smaller lessons, each lasting about 15-20 minutes.

MATERIALS

PROCEDURES

  1. Introduce key vocabulary: menacing, monstrous, astride, quaking, prodded, dependable. Ask students to complete the Vocabulary Worksheet.
  2. Encourage students to think about times when they were frightened. Help them discuss the reasons for being frightened by asking questions, such as: Where were you? Did you see something that frightened you? Did you hear something that frightened you?
  3. Point out that being frightened is an effect that can have one or more causes. Tell students that they will better understand the events in a story if they think about what happens (the effect) and why it happened (the cause).
  4. To help students begin to think about the relationship between a cause and an effect, gently bump into a desk on which a book has been carefully placed near the edge. (Bump into the desk in a way that causes the book to fall off.) Ask: What is the effect? What is the cause?
  5. Remind students:
    • A cause is why something happens.
    • An effect is what happens.
    • A cause happens before an effect.
    • Sometimes a sentence has a clue word, such as because, so, or since that signals a cause-and-effect relationship.
    • A cause may have more than one effect and an effect may have more than one cause.
  6. Provide each student with a copy of the Cause and Effect Chart. Have students use the chart and record the cause-and-effect relationship that occurred when you bumped into the desk.
  7. Write the following sentences on the board:
    • Since the boys were very late for dinner, they decided to take a shortcut through the woods.
    • The young boy was saved because he remembered a very important piece of information about bears.
  8. Read each sentence and invite students to determine the cause and effect in each sentence. Have them identify the signal words. Then ask them to use the Cause and Effect Chart to record the information.
  9. Provide each student with a new Cause and Effect Chart. Have them read Two Travelers and the Bear. As students read, encourage them to use the chart to keep track of the causes and effects of the events that take place in the story.

ASSESSMENT

  • Invite students to discuss the events in the fable The Two Travelers and the Bear, using their Cause and Effect Charts.
  • Use the Scoring Guide Rubric for evaluating students' understanding of cause-and-effect relationships.

EXTENSION ACTIVITIES

  • Ask students to write a story about an experience they had with a friend. When they are finished, invite pairs of students to exchange stories. Encourage partners to discuss the events in the stories by pointing out the causes and effects.
  • Invite students to reread one of their favorite stories. Ask them to use a Cause and Effect Chart to help them keep track of the events in the story. You may wish to conference with students individually to discuss their charts.
  • Have students record in their notebooks three events that took place after school. Ask them to analyze each event by indicating what happened (the effect) and why it happened (the cause). Remind students that a cause might have more than one effect and an effect may have more than one cause.

STANDARDS CORRELATIONS

  • Students read a wide range of texts
    • to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world.
    • to acquire new information.
    • for personal fulfillment.
  • Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their
    • prior experience.
    • interactions with other readers and writers.
    • knowledge of word meaning and of other texts.
    • word identification strategies.
    • understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • Students conduct research. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources.
  • Students use a variety of technological and information resources to gather and synthesize information.

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