Scatter Plots and Trends

I had high hopes for today’s Algebra 1A lesson on scatter plots and introduction to trends and correlation. I was going to use the Movie Compatibility idea found here, but I chose to use the top 10 songs on the Billboard chart. The students and I have had lots of discussions about music. They always want to know about what I think of some song I’ve never heard of and I in turn put on my music. I’m an old school jazz fan, so I get lots of groans. I was looking forward to the delight when I had an assignment with the cool kid new music. Dun dun dun…. that was my mistake. Apparently the Billboard Top 10 is a terrible representation of the teenagers I work with. I assumed since I hadn’t heard of the songs, my students must have 🙂 One student had heard only 2 of the songs, and I think the most was someone who had heard of 7. We had to scrap that plan and move on.

Instead, we did a sorting activity where students took two variables at a time and decided whether they would have positive, negative, or no correlation. I found the activity here, and since it was an in the middle of class change, I didn’t update or change it. I had the students match the graphs first and then share ideas of things that would fit in each category.  Then we added the notes in blue. then in pairs or alone, the cut out and sorted the different scenarios and taped them into the correct flap. One of the better debates was around age and height.

My most common line of the day was “If you can defend it…” I like that even in a card sort, there is not necessarily a right answer, and a seemingly true answer is no good if you can’t justify reasoning. I’m going to look for some crazy correlations to share tomorrow. We touched on correlation/causation today, but I think I can drill home the need for proof with a few example like: “The per capita consumption of cheese, people who die by being tangled in bed sheets” .

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Side Note: I tasked the students with going home and listening to the 10 songs that we tried to rank today so that they could rank them tomorrow. I like the idea of generating data, especially without the typical measuring labs. I tried to play the songs in class today, but they failed the internet safety filter. I never assign homework, so I scared a few today when I told them they had homework. When they figured out it was listening to the songs, they were excited though. Hopefully tomorrow should be smoother.

 

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Author:

I am a math teacher at a public, alternative high school school. I’m the only math teacher at my site, so I get to teach it all. This is good. The bad? I have 7 different preps! Twitter: @altmath

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