'Use the power of these virtual maipulatives to play with the ideas behind scattergraphs, correlation and lines of best fit'

The study of statistics at school is a great opportunity to show mathematics in a practical context, but this activity is really about playing with the more abstract mathematics behind the statistics. In doing so an extra depth of understanding is added to the study of the concepts in context.

This activity makes use of two excellent and freely available virtual mainpulatives that really allow and encourage playing. By entering and moving points on a scattergraph, the aim is to explore the features of different types of correlation, the positioning of a line of best fit and the idea of measuring the degree of correlation.


The tasks for this activity are clearly outlined in the  Scattertastic worksheet and make use of the following two virtual manipulatives  Scatterplot and line of best fit and  Illuminations: Line of best fit

Virtual Mainpulatives

The screencasts below outline how the two virtual manipulatives can be used. Both of these manipulatives are freely available on the internet and referenced on our free page  Statistics: Virtual Manipulatives


  • Using computers, students navigate their way to the virtual mainpulatives.
  • Investigate 'Types of correlation' by adding and moving points so that they show different types of correlation.
  • Investigate lines of best fit by exploring where they 'look like' they should go and then checking.
  • Try and add/move points so that the line of best fit is a given equation.
  • Try and add/move points so that the correlation coefficient is a given value.
  • Take screenshots of the results to keep as a record.
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