Establishing Cause and Effect - Scientific Causality
Cause and effect can be a tricky concept to teach, but these fun cause and effect lesson plans will help your kids catch on quickly!. In statistics, many statistical tests calculate correlations between variables and when two Determining whether there is an actual cause-and-effect relationship The above example commits the correlation-implies-causation fallacy, as it. An education in cause and effect might help put this in perspective. one makes a case for cause, one does not prove (except in very limited ways in laws of physics, for example). Are there more primary causes that explain the relationship?.
It is a variation on the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy and a member of the questionable cause group of fallacies. All of these examples deal with a lurking variablewhich is simply a hidden third variable that affects both causes of the correlation. Example 1 Sleeping with one's shoes on is strongly correlated with waking up with a headache.
Therefore, sleeping with one's shoes on causes headache. The above example commits the correlation-implies-causation fallacy, as it prematurely concludes that sleeping with one's shoes on causes headache.
- Establishing Cause and Effect
- 12 Easy Cause and Effect Activities and Worksheets
- Correlation does not imply causation
A more plausible explanation is that both are caused by a third factor, in this case going to bed drunkwhich thereby gives rise to a correlation. So the conclusion is false. Example 2 Young children who sleep with the light on are much more likely to develop myopia in later life. Therefore, sleeping with the light on causes myopia. This is a scientific example that resulted from a study at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. Published in the May 13, issue of Nature the study received much coverage at the time in the popular press.
It did find a strong link between parental myopia and the development of child myopia, also noting that myopic parents were more likely to leave a light on in their children's bedroom. Example 3 As ice cream sales increase, the rate of drowning deaths increases sharply. Therefore, ice cream consumption causes drowning. This example fails to recognize the importance of time of year and temperature to ice cream sales.
Ice cream is sold during the hot summer months at a much greater rate than during colder times, and it is during these hot summer months that people are more likely to engage in activities involving water, such as swimming. The increased drowning deaths are simply caused by more exposure to water-based activities, not ice cream. The stated conclusion is false. This suggests a possible "third variable" problem, however, when three such closely related measures are found, it further suggests that each may have bidirectional tendencies see " bidirectional variable ", abovebeing a cluster of correlated values each influencing one another to some extent.
Therefore, the simple conclusion above may be false. Example 5 Since the s, both the atmospheric CO2 level and obesity levels have increased sharply. Hence, atmospheric CO2 causes obesity. Richer populations tend to eat more food and produce more CO2. Example 6 HDL "good" cholesterol is negatively correlated with incidence of heart attack. Therefore, taking medication to raise HDL decreases the chance of having a heart attack. Further research  has called this conclusion into question.
Instead, it may be that other underlying factors, like genes, diet and exercise, affect both HDL levels and the likelihood of having a heart attack; it is possible that medicines may affect the directly measurable factor, HDL levels, without affecting the chance of heart attack. A causes B, and B causes A[ edit ] Causality is not necessarily one-way; in a predator-prey relationshippredator numbers affect prey numbers, but prey numbers, i.
12 Cause-and-Effect Lesson Plans You’ll Love
Another well-known example is that cyclists have a lower Body Mass Index than people who do not cycle. This is often explained by assuming that cycling increases physical activity levels and therefore decreases BMI. Because results from prospective studies on people who increase their bicycle use show a smaller effect on BMI than cross-sectional studies, there may be some reverse causality as well i.
The more things are examined, the more likely it is that two unrelated variables will appear to be related.
The result of the last home game by the Washington Redskins prior to the presidential election predicted the outcome of every presidential election from to inclusivedespite the fact that the outcomes of football games had nothing to do with the outcome of the popular election.
This streak was finally broken in or using an alternative formulation of the original rule. A collection of such coincidences  finds that for example, there is a We took out our umbrellas.
Once the pair has finished their cards, they mix them up, place them in an envelope and write their names on the front. The next day, set the envelopes around the room like a scavenger hunt and have pairs travel around the room with their partners to open envelopes, match causes and effects, mix the cards back up, put them back in the envelope, and move to the next open set.
Cause-effect relationships in analytical surveys: an illustration of statistical issues.
An alternative is to use the envelopes as a cause-and-effect center. These little books can be used in cause-and-effect lesson plans and much more! You might want to prep them for little ones, but older kids can usually make their own. Keep it folded and use a ruler to mark off the 3-inch, 6-inch and 9-inch spots near the top and bottom. Draw a line from the top to the bottom at each marked spot.
Unfold the page and cut on the three lines from the bottom to the fold. Once the flip book is created, kids draw four causes on the front and then lift each flap and draw four effects underneath. Need enrichment for higher-level kids? Have them draw or write several effects for each cause! Kids use crayons, markers, sharpies or watercolors to create a picture that shows a cause-and-effect relationship. Similar to the above cause-and-effect lesson plan, but instead of unfolding the paper, just leave it folded like a greeting card.
I actually like to make the cards fairly small and then they can be grouped together in a little cause-and-effect museum for a fun display. The cards just have to be big enough that the kids can draw or write on them. Use pictures for students to infer cause and effect.
This cause-and-effect lesson plan could be done after kids have mastered the basics. Gather some interesting pictures from classroom magazines Scholastic, Weekly Reader and regular magazines, or find them online on free-to-use sites like Pixabay.
Look for pictures that have a lot going on in them because kids are going to be looking for several causes and effects, not just one. I would suggest NOT letting the kids search for pictures. Not everything is classroom friendly and even if they were, it could be a distraction.
Glue the picture to the top of a piece of construction paper portrait format or a piece of chart paper. Kids brainstorm and write down lots of different causes and effects for the same picture by looking at it in many ways. More pictures for multiple causes or effects.
For this activity, find pictures as before, but this time, glue the picture to the center of the paper. Then kids draw arrows away from the picture and write possible effects.
Cause-effect relationships in analytical surveys: an illustration of statistical issues.
For example, if the picture is of a sunny beach, the cause is the hot sun. Some possible effects might be that the sand is hot, people get sunburned, kids jump in the water to cool off, people sit under umbrellas to stay cool, people put on sunscreen, and so on. The arrows this time point towards the effect and demonstrate causes. For example, if the picture was of spilled milk, the effect is the milk spilled.
The causes might be a cat bumped into it, a baby tried to drink from it, it was too close to the edge of the table, a mom poured too much by mistake, kids were playing ball in the house and the ball hit it, etc. Have a scavenger hunt. Gather baskets of picture books with strong cause-and-effect examples. Make sure to select books, either fiction or nonfiction, that target your standard. Kids may work alone or in pairs to read one of the books and find cause-and-effect relationships. Make sure students have either Post-it notes, paper, or a cause-and-effect template one side for causes and one for effects to record their findings.
This activity may be repeated several times, with students using different books. Do you have any favorite cause-and-effect lesson plans?