A popular format for an informative essay is linking an event to its cause. Cause and effect essays are great ways for writers to demonstrate their understanding. Check out 125 ideas for compelling cause and effect essays in several different subjects, including science, language arts, social studies, math, and other subjects.
Informative writing is only one of the types of writing you might find in a language arts class. If you need a literature topic for your next essay, or if you need a personal narrative essay prompt, check out these ideas divided by grade level.
Elementary students are focusing on basic cause and effect relationships. You can work on this skill with the following topics:
- What could happen if you don’t wake up on time?
- How do Charlotte’s actions help Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web?
- How are you feeling today? What caused you to feel that way?
- What would be the effect of having a pet tiger?
- What are the benefits of one of your school rules?
- Think about your favorite book. What does the main character do to change the plot?
- Write a story like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie in which one action leads to several other actions.
- How did you and your best friend become best friends?
- What is the effect of Mouse’s trick in The Gruffalo?
By the time writers are in middle school, they can give more analytic thought to their work. Challenge middle schoolers with these thought-provoking prompts.
- Write about a time when a decision led to a consequence you didn’t like.
- What would happen if there was no homework?
- How has your favorite book affected your life?
- How have video games affected society?
- How can owning a pet positively affect your life?
- What are the effects of the government policies in The Giver?
- How can peer pressure lead to bad decisions?
- Explain the cause and effect of the couple selling their belongings in The Gift of the Magi.
It may seem like teenagers have a hard time connecting consequences with actions. Writing cause and effect essays may help the bridge that gap! Keep these ideas for your next essay:
- What was the cause of Ralph and Jack’s conflict in Lord of the Flies?
- What were the effects of Mercutio’s death in Romeo and Juliet?
- Describe an influential person and how they have affected your life.
- Think about a decision you regret. What caused you to make it? What were the effects?
- What are the negative effects of stress in one’s daily life?
- What happens when a 17 year old commits a crime? What about an 18 year old?
- How did the accusations in The Crucible lead to John Proctor’s declaration: “It is my name!”
- What were the events that caused Jay Gatsby’s death in The Great Gatsby?
Social studies is a fascinating subject to write about. It includes history, psychology, geography, and social relationships. See if the following prompts inspire you!
You can use subjects from elementary history lessons to create basic essay topics. You can also think about community helpers and map skills for younger writers. These topics can include:
- What was one cause of the Montgomery bus boycott?
- How did Abraham Lincoln affect American history?
- How can a sunny day affect your mood?
- How can a rainy day affect your mood?
- What was the effect of pioneers traveling to California?
- Why would someone become a community helper?
- What can happen if you don’t know how to use a map?
- What is an effect of the discovery of North America?
History class in middle school is a great time to focus on cause and effect relationships. They can make connections between events at this age that may have been more difficult in elementary school. For example:
- What caused the Great Depression?
- Why do people become bullies?
- How did the American Civil War begin? How did it end?
- How was Anne Frank discovered in her hiding place?
- What are the effects of being on social media?
- How does discrimination impact a person’s self-esteem?
- What can happen if you don’t stick to a budget?
It’s time to get more complex with these high school essay topics. Teenagers will enjoy delving deeper into an informational essay and getting beyond the “what” with more in-depth questions.
- How did the 2008 housing crisis affect the economy going forward?
- What are the effects of negative political advertisements?
- How did World War I lead to World War II?
- What are the long-term effects of bullying?
- What is the most important event in history, and what were its effects?
- What causes homelessness?
- How did the Industrial Revolution lead to globalization?
- What were the consequences of the World Trade Tower attacks on 9/11?
- What caused Richard Nixon to resign the presidency?
- How can institutional racism affect one’s socioeconomic status?
Science classes don’t have to rely on lab reports to teach writing. Thanks to these essay topics, young scientists can think critically about what they see in the natural world. They can also discuss health concepts in an evaluative and real-life way.
If you’re planning an elementary science or health lesson, don’t forget the writing assignment! Some possible topics include:
- What would happen if you only ate junk food?
- What causes precipitation?
- Think of an animal. How would changing its habitat affect its life?
- What is one possible cause of the dinosaurs becoming extinct?
- How does eating healthy foods affect your life?
- Why does taking the battery out of a toy cause it to stop?
- How would moving to another planet change your everyday routine?
Some of the bigger-picture questions in science and health are perfectly suited for middle school writers. From DNA to hurricanes, there are all sorts of ways to prompt these learners to think about cause and effect relationships.
- What causes climate change?
- How does DNA affect how a person looks?
- How can a daily exercise routine positively affect your life?
- What are the consequences of smoking?
- How does deforestation negatively affect an ecosystem?
- What is the effect of adding too much acid to a solution? What about a base?
- How would an asteroid affect Earth if it hit an ocean? What about land?
- How does pollution begin? How does it affect the world?
- What are common effects of a regional drought?
- How does a hurricane occur?
How does science affect high school students’ daily lives? Let them tell you! These high school essay ideas prompt teenagers to analyze science concepts in an informational context.
- What is the result of osmosis?
- How can poor forest management affect an area’s fire season?
- What causes drug abuse?
- Does screen time during early childhood affect kids’ attention spans?
- Why did Covid-19 spread so quickly around the world in 2020?
- What causes heart disease?
- What are the consequences for drinking and driving?
- If the Earth weren’t tilted, how would seasons change?
- What happens when a teenager doesn’t get enough sleep?
Who says math class isn’t a good place for writing? Writing about math uses the same problem-solving skills that students employ every day. Check out these ideas to bring cause and effect essays into your next math class.
If elementary students can explain their work, they can write about their work. Thinking about the possible effects of doing a problem incorrectly, for example, challenges them to make a straightforward problem more hypothetical. For example:
- What could happen if you measure something incorrectly?
- What are the possible effects of not completing a problem in the correct order of operations?
- How did a math concept confuse you? How did you get past your confusion?
- Why is it important to show your work in a math problem?
- What are the negative effects of skipping steps in a math problem?
- How does understanding repeated addition help you with multiplication?
- How does changing a ten to ten ones affect a subtraction problem?
Math history is a great place to start when assigning math essays. But it doesn’t have to stop there! Keep reading to find high-quality math essay prompts for middle schoolers.
- How can algebra help you with engineering concepts?
- Can graphing an equation help you visualize the solution?
- How can understanding probability help you win a game of chance?
- What are possible effects of putting the decimal in the wrong place?
- What happens when you add a positive number and a negative number? Is it the same result every time?
- Will switching the hypotenuse and one of its legs affect the angle of a triangle?
- How did Isaac Newton affect the study of mathematics?
- What are some ways you could misread a math problem? What would happen as a result?
High school mathematicians need to prove their work with proofs and graphs every day. Have them use their skills in writing assignments that goes through the same steps: naming causes and their effects.
- What are the positive effects of learning geometry?
- How can learning the Pythagorean Theorem help you with everyday problems?
- What could happen if you multiply an exponent?
- How does increasing the angle of a shape affect its other measurements?
- What elements of mathematics can you use in computer programming?
- How does increasing the mean number affect the median and mode?
- What was Alan Turing’s effect on mathematics?
Writing can go beyond the core subjects as well. If you’re looking for cause and effect essay topics in art, music, physical education, or technology, keep reading to find new ways to challenge elective students.
Young artists and art aficionados love talking about their work. Let them do it in an analytic ways with these cause and effect essay prompts, perfect for writers of varying ages and interests.
- How did impressionism affect later art movements, such as pop art?
- What is the effect of displaying art in an otherwise stressful place (e.g. a hospital, a waiting room)?
- How can painting in cool colors affect your mood? What about warm colors?
- Explain how Vincent Van Gogh affected the way we see texture in an art piece.
- What are the benefits of sketching in charcoal? How does it affect your final work?
- How were Marcel Duchamp’s art installations received by early audiences? How did they affect the way viewers interpret art?
- How does changing the lighting affect the perspective in a still-life piece?
Everyone appreciates music, but musicians appreciate it on a totally different level. No matter the skill level, these writing prompts are great additions to any music class.
- How does listening to music make you feel?
- Choose a composer. What was their effect on modern music?
- Does making a song a cappella affect the way you hear it?
- Who is your favorite band? How have they influenced the music scene?
- How would changing the key of a song affect its sound?
- What are the positive effects of learning a musical instrument?
- Are there more benefits to watching live music than listening to recordings?
Physical education isn’t just about sports and exercise. Teach young athletes to think about their activities in new ways with these cause and effect essays topics.
- Why do men and women compete separately in sports? What are the effects?
- What if a ref reverses a call?
- In what ways do the Olympic games bring countries together?
- How does an athlete get better at their sport?
- What can cause a basketball player to foul out?
- How can you raise your pulse without becoming fatigued?
- What can happen if you don't drink water when you work out?
Technology affects everyone’s life, especially students who have grown up with it. Challenge them to think about technology in creative ways with these prompts.
- How can a coding mistake affect the way an application works?
- What was the most important technological invention in the last century, and why?
- What can happen if you don’t know how to use a computer?
- Are there more positive or negative effects to growing up with technology?
- How has genetic engineering affected our daily lives?
- What would happen if there was no more internet?