Convincing Data

We are still in the “Data Analysis” unit in our Algebra 1 class and we are all set to talk about Correlation and Causality.  I’ve got some great worksheets (yes, such a thing exists) but my ongoing concern is that I miss the opportunity for students to see math as meaningful. I really want to harness this chance for critical thinking as “Data Analysis” no naturally lends itself to meaningful math.



We watched a cool video about wealth distribution in America to get the kids thinking about what it takes for data to be convincing.

Some students were in fact convinced that the wealth distribution is unfair but their opinions on the video were not my focus.  What I tried to get at was the way in which the author of this video used data to sway his audience.  I’m hoping that the emotions stirred by this video will help us as we revisit it again after having had conversations about how correlation does not imply causality.

We are supposed to be talking about this idea directly but I’m hoping that the mini project they will be doing today will give more context for needing to care about this idea.  The “false cause fallacy” is rampant in our culture and we can use math to help kids understand how to look for it and uproot it.  I’m pretty excited about how this unit might actually be meaningful for students unlike so much other math we do.

So here is the project:

1.  Get a partner

2.  Find convincing data

3.  Use it to convince your class of something you believe.

This will be on the screen when they walk in class today:

 Do it

 Here is the Google form they will be filling out:


Here’s hoping it creates opportunity for great conversation.