Virus Attack Design
The goal is to explore some of the questions about the spread of a virus by creating, running, and studying a simulation.
- Science: infectious diseases
- Math: rates of change - exponential vs. linear growth
- Getting Started Manual: step-by-step tutorial that illustrate the process of building the entire Virus Attack simulation from scratch
- Tutorial movies: include a getting started tutorial movie about how to build the Virus Attack simulation and a different movie to show how to add simulation properties and graph them.
- With the Virus Attack simulation, one can explore questions such as:
- Does the number of people infected by the virus go up linearly or is there some other function behind the rate of growth?
- How fast does the virus spread?
- What can be done to contain the virus?
- Explorations need not stop here. Most educational simulations are open ended in nature. There is always additional factors that could be added, new avenues to be explored, and more questions to be asked. Here are some suggestions that you can consider as extensions to the Virus Attack simulation, though we suspect that you will probably think of ones that we never have.
- What is the optimal ratio (if there is one) of doctors to people to keep the disease under control?
- What if there was a medication that will preserve immunity for some finite amount of time?
- What if people died when they are not healed within a certain time frame?
- What if there was a gestation period for the virus? I.e., there could be a delay between getting the virus, showing symptoms and being able to spread the virus any further. How would the virus spread then?
- The point of this simulation is to understand the basic mechanism of virus spreading. However, it is interesting to note that the principles behind this kind of simulation are not limited to virus spreading. The same laws even apply to the spreading of rumors, fads and other types of information relevant to society. Change the simulation's appearance and explore how rumors spread, how viral marketing works, or how social ideas diffuse.
- Rumors ESCOT ePOW: Using the related simulation about spreading rumors, instead of viruses, a student activity and teacher support were created and hosted on the Math Forum in the context of the Educational Software Components of Tomorrow (ESCOT) research project.