Infectious Disease


Infectious Disease (3rd-8th)

This lesson introduces students to the exponential spread of infectious diseases. The focus of the lesson is on extracting meaningful information from data patterns formed by disease outbreaks.


Lesson Overview

Students will:

  • Choose between two different models and compare graphs to historical influenza data
  • Model the spread of disease using pony beads that are either “infected” or “uninfected,” and look at the impact of wearing masks and getting vaccinated and graph the number of infected pony beads over time including those scenarios.
  • Observe that disease spread can be exponential and that when enough people are vaccinated we can stop the spread
  • Discuss how herd immunity can protect the vulnerable population in a society or explore changing the parameters of a COVID-19 simulator model.
Standards Covered

Disciplinary Core Idea (DCI)

LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics – LS2.A Interdependent relationships in ecosystems

  • (6th-8th) Organisms and populations are dependent on their environmental interactions both with other living things and with nonliving factors, any of which can limit their growth. Competitive, predatory, and mutually beneficial interactions vary across ecosystems but the patterns are shared.  

Science & Engineering Practice (SEP) 

Using Mathematical and Computational Thinking

  • (3rd-5th) Organize simple data sets to reveal patterns that suggest relationships.
  • (6th-8th) Use mathematical representations to describe and/or support scientific conclusions and design solutions.

Crosscutting Concept (CCC)


  • (3rd-5th) Similarities and differences in patterns can be used to sort, classify, communicate and analyze simple rates of change for natural phenomena and designed products; Patterns can be used as evidence to support an explanation.
  • (6th-8th) Patterns in rates of change and other numerical relationships can provide information about natural and human designed systems; Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data.

Lesson Outcomes

Students will be able to: 5th-8th

  • Graph the spread of disease with and without a vaccinated sub-population 
  • Explain the concept of herd immunity
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Our Young Pre classroom is for ages. This age group is working