When conducting research or an experiment, an independent variable is one that you have control over. The dependent variable is the response or reaction to the independent variable. Typically the hypothesis will be that there is a statistically significant correlation between the variables.
(1) You might hypothesize that taller students have taller parents. The independent variable would be the students' height while the dependent variable would be the heights of the parents.
(2) You might hypothesize that students with higher ACT/SAT scores are in the hard sciences (math, physics, engineering computing) vs. the "soft" sciences. The independent variable would be the test scores and the dependent variable would be the academic track they are in.
thank you for helping me understand this random stats question, have a great week! :-)