How R Naught (R₀) Shapes an Epidemic
- Describe what R naught (R₀) is.
- Identify the minimum value for R₀ needed to start an epidemic.
- Investigate how local differences in R₀ can contribute to communities experiencing differences in scope and timeline of an epidemic.
What is R naught (R₀), what factors influence it, and how does it shape the infection curves of an epidemic? Students will explore these questions and more in this lesson plan. They will then use SimPandemic, a free online tool, to model what a COVID-19 outbreak looks like in communities with different R₀ values.
Remote learning adaptation: This lesson plan can be conducted remotely. Students can work independently on the Explore section of the lesson plan using the Student Worksheet as a guide. The Engage and Reflect sections can either be dropped entirely, done in writing remotely, or be conducted over a video chat.
NGSS AlignmentThis lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
Area of Science
Human Biology & Health
Pandemics – COVID-19
R naught, basic reproduction number, epidemics, viruses, disease modeling, COVID-19
Sandra Slutz, PhD, Science Buddies
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