Correlation Guessing Game
This activity has been undergone anonymous peer review.
This activity was anonymously reviewed by educators with appropriate statistics background according to the CAUSE review criteria for its pedagogic collection.
This page first made public: May 4, 2007
This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project
- distinguish between positive and negative correlations.
- distinguish between strong and weak associations.
- match approximate correlation values to particular scatterplots.
Context for Use
Prior to this activity students should have some understanding of the relationship between scatterplots and correlation.
Description and Teaching Materials
"By a show of hands is this a correlation that is positive?....or negative?" "Which of these four plots have the highest correlation?" Next the game can begin. Inform students of the rules of the game:
- Students will use the applet to match scatterplots and correlations.
- Students will continue to guess until they miss one.
- The student with the longest streak will win the grand prize.
- The top ten students will win the second prize.
- Once the game begins students may not close and reopen the applet (this will reset the game).
- Computer lab with machines for each student or groups of students.
- Computer with projector for the instructor.
- Correlation Guessing Applet
Teaching Notes and Tips
- Duration of this activity is flexible. Ideally it should be used in a time setting of 5 to 15 minutes.
- Although this game may be used for a few rounds, this game is typically not sufficient to fill an entire class period.
- Use in a computer lab is highly recommended since direct feedback from an instructor is very beneficial. For example, the instructor will be able to point out what exactly is the cause of a minute difference in correlation from one plot to the next should the situation arise.
- One way to add to the game environment is by giving a prize for the student (or group of students) who achieve the longest run of consecutive matches. If you are feeling particularly generous, have prizes for the top ten students. Typical prize ideas might include candy or bonus points.
The Example Quiz Questions (Microsoft Word 706kB May3 07) includes examples of integrating the correlation matching with other questions of this type. It also includes a warmup that closely resembles the applet questions and a more challenging version of the game activity that includes eight scatterplots.
Also, students may be asked to plot for themselves, to the best of their ability, a scatterplot given a correlation value.