Help your students prepare for their Maths GCSE with this free scatter graphs worksheet of 15 questions and answers
Suitable for GCSE maths revision for AQA, OCR and Edexcel exam boards
A scatter graph or scatter diagram is used to display two sets of data and examine the relationship between them – a connection between two sets of data or variables is called correlation.
When plotting scatter graphs, the independent variable is plotted on the x axis, and the dependent variable on the y axis. For example, when looking for a correlation between ice cream sales and temperature, we would plot temperature on the x axis. Each point is plotted in the usual way – x value, followed by y value. Students should be encouraged to count the number of points given in the question, and then the number of points they have drawn on their graph as an error check.
There are two types of correlation. Positive correlation means that, as one variable increases, so does the other. A straight line of best fit drawn on a scatter graph with positive correlation runs from the bottom left of the graph to the top right, and has a positive gradient. Negative correlation means that, as one variable increases, the other decreases. The line of best fit runs from the top left of the graph to the bottom right, and has a negative gradient. If the scatter graph shows no discernable pattern, we say there is no correlation.
It is important that students are aware that correlation doesn’t imply causation – in other words, just because there is a relationship apparent in the data, it doesn’t necessarily mean that one thing has caused the other.
A line of best fit can be used to estimate a value within the range of the data; this is called interpolation and is fairly reliable. Doing the same outside the data range is called extrapolation and is more unreliable.
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