Preventing Outbreaks with Herd Immunity
- Describe what community immunity and the herd immunity threshold are.
- Investigate how increasing community immunity lowers the effective size of an outbreak.
- Deduce the herd immunity threshold for COVID-19 and articulate its impact on a population.
What is herd immunity, how is it achieved, and what impact does it have on outbreaks? Students will explore these questions and more in this lesson plan. They will then use SimPandemic, a free online tool, to model different levels of viral immunity in communities to understand how a population can reach the herd immunity threshold and the impacts that has on individuals and populations during a COVID-19 outbreak.
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
community immunity, herd immunity threshold, epidemic effective size, outbreaks, disease modeling, COVID-19
Sandra Slutz, PhD, Science Buddies
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