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Disease Detectives

Activity Summary
Students model disease transmission by undergoing a series of “interactions.”  Only one student is infected at the start of each simulation; any increase in the infected population is due to interactions with uninfected individuals.  At the end of each round of interactions, the class calculates the total number of infected individuals.  Students use data collected to identify transmission trends, differences between logistic and exponential growth, and the limitations posed by resource availability (environmental carrying capacity).

Grade Levels

Learning Objectives
1. Explain the ecological concept of carrying capacity
2. Describe the means by which pathogens can reproduce and spread
3. Articulate how human settlements (cities) increase disease exposure
4. Link global travel to disease transmission

Lesson Materials (view or download)
Lesson Plans

infectious, pathogen, transmission, carrying capacity

Last updated: 3/9/2015