Cause-and-effect connections are pervasive across scientific disciplines, yet students often encounter challenges in recognizing these relationships, particularly when assessing available evidence. Detailed in the Library of Congress (LOC) blog "Teaching With the LOC," the "Concepts Across the Sciences: Cause and Effect" activity employs primary source materials from the LOC alongside guided inquiries to offer high school students opportunities to refine their skills in appraising evidence related to cause-and-effect relationships.
In this activity, students delve into an analysis of a 1940 Work Projects Administration (WPA) poster advocating the belief that milk consumption leads to positive effects on teeth, vitality, endurance, and bone strength. This exploration initiates discussions and encourages a class-wide exploration into the credibility of these cause-and-effect associations. The activity incorporates teacher-provided questions to guide students' investigations and provides links to additional primary source documents contemporaneous with the poster for further student examination. Additionally, it offers suggestions for teachers on integrating these primary sources with biology and chemistry course content.