Lesson Plan: Correlation/ Cause and Effect – Sharks vs Ice Cream
Estimated Lesson Duration:
Is there a connection between shark attacks and ice cream sales? Knowing and recording information is important, but making correct conclusions is the key to meaningful knowledge and accurate understanding. Students will use graphs and data from the “Let’s Get Healthy” fair to identify comparative strengths of correlations and how correlations correspond to cause and effect. They will identify graphs depicting comparative strengths, analyze data from the “Let’s Get Healthy” fair, and determine correlations don’t always show a cause and effect.
Key Concepts and Standards:
• Students will identify graph depicting comparative strengths of correlations
• Students will analyze and interpret real data from the “Let’s Get Healthy!” fair
• Students will evaluate scenarios to determine if there is a direct cause and effect correlation
Download the briefing sheet about how this lesson meets standards
The standards listed were identified using key concepts from each individual lesson. These key concepts were aligned with the specific Oregon State Standards, Common Core Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards that apply specifically to each individual lesson.
Teachers may consult the Oregon Department of Education’s website for additional terms related to each lesson.
• Six scatterplot graphs: Copied and cut into 6 separate graphs and distributed to groups of 4-6 students
• Scatterplot graphs and key for teacher
• One set of “Let’s Get Healthy” graphs depicting data from the fair for students to analyze and interpret
• Cause and Effect Scenarios
Brief description of activities:
Activity 1: Identify strength of correlations — Students will read and interpret scatter plots while participating in activities one and two. Pass out to each small group of 4-6 students the six scatter plot cards. Ask students match the graphs to the correlations.
Activity 2: Gallery-walk with graphs of “Let’s Get Healthy” fair data. Create gallery exhibits by attaching each Let’s Get Healthy! graph to blank poster sized butcher paper along different walls in the classroom. Then have students travel in their small groups to each exhibit. When visiting an exhibit, students should analyze and discuss the graph’s data, and then record on the blank poster-sized paper at least one observation and one question they have from the information they can interpret from each exhibit.
Activity 3: Evaluating Correlation Scenarios. After reviewing correlation and cause and effect with students, pass out the following scenarios worksheet to them in their small groups, and have them discuss if the correlations in each scenario have a direct cause and effect. After students share their explanations with the class, go over the explanations provided in the scenario key.
Extension activity: Have students in their small groups revisit “gallery exhibits” and identify correlations fallacies recorded early during the gallery walk.
Downloadable Lesson and Supporting Materials
- Full Lesson – CorrelationCause-and-Effect_SharksIceCream(.doc)
- Full Lesson – CorrelationCause-and-Effect_SharksIceCream(.pdf)
- WS-SharksIceCream – Handout for Activity 1(.docx)
- WS -SharksIceCream Handout for Activity 1(.pdf)
- WS – SharksIceCream Handouts for Activity 2(.docx)
- WS – SharksIceCream Handouts for Activity 2(.pdf)
- WS – SharksIceCream Handout for Activity 3(.docx)
- WS – SharksIceCream Handout for Activity 3(.pdf)