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›› Correlation and Causation


Welcome to our page on “Teaching Correlation and Causation”. Below you’ll find a unit of learning for introducing students to the key concepts in this topic and more. This page is designed to provide teachers with ideas and approaches for distance learning in mathematics. The content is not intended to be prescriptive – rather it is presented as a series of suggestions for teachers to take and adapt. To support you all in your distance-learning efforts we’re also including video tutorials which explore:

  • key features of the lessons which make for effective distance learning
  • how to use a learning management system effectively

The intention is that in highlighting these features, you might identify which ones you feel will work for your students and your context, take these ideas and apply them when you’re teaching other topics in maths.

The unit is designed to provide students with learning experiences which encourage development of deep conceptual understanding. While the unit takes time to complete, it is our experience that students who engage with the material develop an understanding of the concepts which allows them to be flexible in their thinking around the subject matter.

Learning Outcomes for this Unit

This unit of learning addresses the following learning outcomes from the Leaving Certificate Mathematics syllabus:

All students should be able to:

– determine the relationship between variables using scatterplots

– recognise that correlation is a value from -1 to +1 and that it measures the extent of the linear relationship between two variables

– match correlation coefficient values to appropriate scatterplots

– understand that correlation does not imply causality

In addition, students working at HL should be able to:

– draw the line of best fit by eye

– make predictions based on the line of best fit

– calculate the correlation coefficient by calculator

This unit is made up of four lessons – each with its own learning intentions. An overview of the sequencing of the lessons within the unit is provided in the following graphic.

Lesson 1 – Explore the Correlation Coefficient

Learning Intentions

Students will be able to:

Lesson 2 – Line of Best Fit
  • New to