Sort iT - The Best Tool to Study Cause and Effect Relationships

Published on March 09, 2018 by THiNKtech

Sort iT is a great tool to promote discussion around cause and effect relationships. Successful students who learn to problem solve and think analytically, understand how one thing leads to another and how a single event can have multiple causes and effects which may have intended and unintended consequences. Sort iT offers a great opportunity for students to practice grouping terms and phrases while teachers obtain real-time data from their class.

"We deliberately made toggle switches to control the use of scores and timers. Our goal was to provide the teacher a tool built on sound methodologies that allowed them to be creative and autonomously use it in multiple ways."

We hope that you will explore ways to promote deep thinking during your lessons.  We wanted to cultivate academic discussions among classmates.

Partner up!

Sort iT does not have to be an individual activity.  Instead, try having your students partner up while they work through a launched lesson.  Too often, educators think that technology integration insinuates that students are exclusively working as individuals.

Cause and effect relationships are not easy for learners to understand.  It can also be a challenge for students to distinguish the difference between long-term and short-term causes and/or effects.  By creating Sort iT lessons with boiled down statements, students can measure their understanding correctly by identifying the category of the term.  As an example, a teacher may create two or four groups (shown above).  Then students discuss with partners while they drag and drop the terms accordingly using Sort iT.  Once the group has completed the Sort, they can get immediate feedback on their accuracy.

Extend your lesson

Teachers can fully benefit from THiNKtech tools by adding a Check iT question to any Sort iT lesson.  Choose any questions from our critical thinking stock choices like:

  • What predictions can you make about this topic?
  • Why is this relevant to me or others?

However, consider other questions to inspire deep thinking about a cause and effect lesson:

  • Choose one long-term cause and explain how it led to one long-term effect.
  • Decide which cause had the greatest impact and explain why.


Don’t box yourself in by thinking 1:1 technology integration was really meant to work in isolation.  Many digital apps can be used a variety of ways. How do you you use Sort iT?  Send us your ideas and we just might feature it in an upcoming article.