Epidemics Unit

 

In the Epidemics curriculum, students use StarLogo TNG simulations to study and break down the complex nature of epidemics, to understand the role of humans in dealing with epidemics, and to analyze the costs and benefits of preventions and interventions. In addition to studying these scientific simulations, students will also learn to modify the simulations through simple TNG programming to perform their own experiments about epidemics. While the curriculum allows students to explore epidemics in the classroom, the activities connect the knowledge and skills students are gaining to the real world.

This curriculum of 5 lessons, each about 45 minutes long, was designed for middle school science teachers. However, these activities also provide a general introduction StarLogo TNG modeling and programming and highlight the value of simulation in modern science.

Download all the curriculum materials as a single zip file.

Epidemics Curriculum At-A-Glance
For a more detailed overview of the curriculum, check out the teacher overview.

Lesson Description Materials
Introduction to Epidemics: Through participatory simulation and exploration of a StarLogo TNG simulation, students will determine what qualities define an epidemic
Send in the Doctors 1: Students will programmatically modify the TNG epidemic simulation and see how modifications to the simulation affect the spread of the epidemic.
Send in the Doctors 2: To evaluate the doctors in the epidemic simulation, students will perform experiments on the simulation to determine the effect doctors have the on the spread of the epidemic.
Epidemics are Expensive 1: In the real world, resources are limited and any response will have a cost. Students will explore simulations with different kinds of preventions/interventions and investigate the costs and benefits of each prevention/intervention.
Epidemics are Expensive 2: After learning about each prevention/intervention, students will design strategies that combine all actions while keeping costs down.
(Optional) Game Project work: Develop a game together or allow kids to build the game to apply students’ knowledge of epidemics Sample Games:

Zip files contain TNG project files, student activity sheets, and teacher guides.

Sample Lesson

In the first epidemics lesson, students examine a StarLogo TNG simulation where turtle agents are infected by a disease through contact with other infected turtle agents to determine what it means for a disease spread to become epidemic.