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Most countries measure their progress with economic data and health statistics. Bhutan takes a different tack – it measures the Gross National Happiness of its citizens. But what does it actually take to make a country happy? What about the individuals within it?

In this lesson, students interpret lines of best fit and correlation coefficients to determine what types of policy changes are most likely to positively impact a country’s well-being.

Students will

  • Given lines of best (relating various measures of national progress to well-being), interpret the slope
  • Evaluate various policy proposals comparing the US and Finland by using lines of best fit to predict their impact
  • Interpret and compare correlation coefficients for models relating a country’s well-being to temperature, life expectancy, median income, and governance
  • Interpret a graph comparing happiness, stress, and income to evaluate whether money can lead to happiness

Before you begin

Students should be able to interpret the slope of a line and use it to find certain values. Students will compare the strength of various correlation coefficients presented along side their corresponding scatterplots. If this concept is new to students, this is an opportunity to explain the meaning of a correlation coefficient.

Common Core Standards

Content Standards
Mathematical Practices


Bhutan, New Economics Foundation