The difference between correlation and causation is an important concept in IB Theory of Knowledge, and I thought readers might find it useful to see some simple fun ways I use to teach the concept.

I’ve used the first two, and the last one — a video — is one I just learned about . I haven’t decided if it’s helpful or just weird, though. Let me know what you think…

Here’s a great comic from xkcd:


via Spurious Correlations

The Internet was awash
recently in discoveries made by Tyler Vigen, who wrote a computer program that discovers strange correlations and publishes them on his blog.


Here’s what the plaque says:


Working on the theory that explosives could cause rainfall because many war battles had been followed by rain, the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted experiments in rainmaking. During a West Texas drought in 1891 the agency brought the experiment to Midland, with some success. Desperate for rain, El Paso city leaders convinced the Department to come here and try the same procedure. On September 18, some 370 charges of dynamite and other explosives were fired from the heights of Mt. Franklin, but no rain resulted. Only a heavy dew was reported. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836 – 1986

This first tweet refers to the second one: