Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Students will understand and explain the difference between correlation and causation.
- Students will analyze two events that are correlated and determine whether one event causes the other. Justify answers.
- Students will explain the difference between a correlation that does and does not imply causation.
- Students will analyze and identify cases of erroneous causation even though there exists similar correlation.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
Prior to beginning this lesson, students should know:
- How to plot points on a graph.
- The difference between a line of best fit and a trend line.
- How to calculate a correlation coefficient.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
Guiding questions will be provided in the Discussion PowerPoint .
They will differ for each data set but center around the following.
- What does strong, weak, positive, and negative correlation look like?
- What is the difference between correlation and causation?
- Does correlation imply causation?
- Does correlation guarantee causation? Explain.
- What is the difference between a correlation that implies causation and one that does not imply causation?
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
Teacher will teach the lesson through examples and discussions. The examples and discussion questions are provided Discussion PowerPoint attachment (see the Guiding Questions box). The teacher should model process of analyzing the data and graphs associated with the first two scenarios provided - teaching students how to logically make inferences about the data and determine correlation of data. For the remainder of the lesson, the teacher should engage in a discussion with the students, having them analyze the remaining scenarios and answering the provided discussion questions. The teacher should constantly ask students to explain their answers.
Students will be presented with a chart of two representing real world events. Teacher will teach students to identify and interpret correlation. They will then be guided through analysis and discussion of the example events, concentrating on correlation and causation. Students explore creative and higher level thinking as to why events may not be as they appear. Or, they are exactly as they appear and we have a reason for the event occurring... a cause! They will discuss the relevance of scatter plot representation over two line charts. and derive independent conclusion and discuss results as a class concentrating on implication of cause through strength of correlation.
Examples of the scenarios that will be used during the discussion include:
- Age and money spent at the pharmacy
- Mean global temperature and sea level
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
During presentation of content and discussion, students will complete a Student Worksheet that will connect student experiences with the objectives of the lesson. Teacher will circulate during instruction and discussions clearing up any misconceptions.
During class time the students will record characteristics that they find in each case, such as:
- For correlation (including strong, weak, positive, and negative)
- For appropriate causation relationships
- Determine correlations that imply or don't imply cause
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Students will perform a ball drop experiment outlined in the Ball Bounce Experiment Teacher Guide. (Student copy Ball Bounce Data Collection Sheet).
Students will collect data for their own experiment where they drop a ball; recording the height from which the ball is dropped and the height of the first bounce.
The class will graph the results on a scatter plot and record their findings among themselves regarding variance, causation, and correlation. Afterwards, the students will share their conclusions and the teacher will facilitate a class discussion.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
The students will share their results and conclusions from the ball drop project. The teacher will review the major concepts from the lesson.
Teachers should download and administer the Summative Assessment. Students will be tested on their ability to compare and contrast graphs of scatter plots with varying correlation. Students will be expected to distinguish between correlation and causation.
Teachers should download and project the Formative Assessments PowerPoint.
During the lesson, the teacher should periodically pause and engage students in a question and answer session, using the four questions on the Formative Assessment slides to generate discussion and to check for student understanding.
Using the formative assessment presentation, students should demonstrate the ability to determine strong, weak, positive, and negative correlation. They will be able to differentiate between correlation that implies causation and correlation that does not. Teachers should use leading questions to guide students to the correct answers and to build students logic and reasoning skills.
Teacher will receive feedback by using an available method that is efficient and convenient (such as clickers, TI inspires, TI Degree Navigator, whiteboards, or 3 x 5 cards).
Feedback to Students
- During the formative assessments and guided practice, the teacher should circulate around the classroom asking students questions about the content and their reasoning and checking students answers. The teacher should guide students to the correct solutions using leading questions.
- The teacher will model the correct solutions to the formative assessment questions and guided practice.
- Students will receive written feedback after 3 x 5 cards are returned with teacher comments.
- Teacher also circulates around the classroom during guided and independent instruction spot checking student work, making suggestions, and clearing up misconceptions. During the lesson, the teacher should emphasize the fact that correlation does not imply causation.