Correlation and causation + mixed review

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SWBAT distinguish between correlation and causation.

Big Idea

Correlation or causation? Push kids' logical reasoning!

Warm Up

10 minutes

Today, when students walk into my classroom they will pick up a packet which starts with the Warm Up problems. WU121 includes two problems that ask students to reason abstractly about patterns in bivariate data.


Play of the Day

40 minutes


10 minutes

This section of the lesson reviews the notes, examples we work through as a class or in partners, and the independent practice. For the independent practice:

  • I give the kids ALL of the answers, ALL of the time.  This way, they get instant feedback, and need to stop and check themselves the moment they find a mistake.  Why did I make that mistake?  If they do not understand, they ask a partner or me for assistance.
  • Sustained, consistent independent practice each day is critical to student mastery.  I guard this time preciously.
  • I use a SMARTboard timer, and also play music (generally instrumental (no lyrics) versions of songs they love that I get from my DJ/classroom roommate, our history teacher Gerard Griffith, an amazing teacher).

9 - 4 POTD121 Causation-correlation + mixed review contains much of today's work, a sample of which is covered during the huddle. 

In the space under the examples, I draw an overlapping Venn diagram, emphasizing the point that if something is causation, it must also be correlation (the entire causation circle fits inside the correlation circle).

For the independent practice, I allow the kids to work in pairs if they prefer, to debate correlation and causation.

For the mixed review section, it’s a nice time in the unit to do some consolidation and review, since the lesson is so short.

In this Huddle, we will review the first example, and I talk about where they think the average KIPP kid would fit on this graph.

Well… the average KIPP kid is an outlier…gets less sleep.

But then we talk about the fact that KIPP kids are outliers on another graph, too…. The graph that plots college graduation rate as a function of family income level.  And we talk about why and how.,.. and I show them Ch 9 from Gladwell’s Outliers (which talks about KIPP)… and we sort of end on a rah-rah note.  It’s nice. 


15 minutes

Tonight's homework is to be completed at home and should take students approximately 15 minutes:9 - 4 HW121 Causation-correlation + mixed review.