Part of teaching is keeping an eye out for good illustrations. I'm teach methods, and this Christmas season has given me a great example of spurious correlation (at least I hope that it is spurious).
I started cooking dinner on Tuesday night at about 5:30. Before the meal was done, not one, not two, but three family members were in the emergency room!
Correlation? Absolutely--my cooking is highly correlated with rushing people to the hospital.
Temporal ordering? Yes--cooking came before hospital.
Plausible mechanism? Not sure. I didn't think I was *that* bad of a cook, but I could be wrong.
Here's what happened: Grandpa had chest/back pains (that ended up being a severely pulled muscle). My two sons had a trampoline accident. One lost half his front tooth, the other got a 13-stitch gash in his forehead. (Why they were jumping on the trampoline, in the dark, in the middle of winter is another story--being the sensitive father that I am, I now call them "chip" and "stitch").
This all happened in a 15-minute span, and we spent boxing day evening down as a family at the emergency room.
Everyone should heal up okay, but I warn you, I'm cooking again tonight.