Grade Range
6th-8th
Group Size
28
Total Time
1 hour
Area of Science
Pandemics – COVID-19
Human Biology & Health
Key Concepts
virus, epidemiology, infection, immune system, contact tracing
Credits
TeachEngineering logo

Overview

Students simulate the spread of a virus such as HIV through a population by "sharing" (but not drinking) the water in a plastic cup with several classmates. Although invisible, the water in a few of the cups has already be tainted with the "virus" (sodium carbonate). After all the students have shared their liquids, the contents of the cups are tested for the virus with phenolphthalein, a chemical that causes a striking color change in the presence of sodium carbonate. Students then set about trying to determine which of their classmates were the ones originally infected with the virus.

Engineering Connection

Biomedical engineers and pharmacologists continue to work on developing a cure for AIDS. An understanding of the biological mechanisms behind the disease are crucial to develop a vaccine.

NGSS Alignment

This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
  • MS-LS1-3. Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:

Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Engaging in Argument from Evidence. Use an oral and written argument supported by evidence to support or refute an explanation or a model for a phenomenon.
LS1.A: Structure and Function. In multicellular organisms, the body is a system of multiple interacting subsystems. These subsystems are groups of cells that work together to form tissues and organs that are specialized for particular body functions.
Systems and System Models. Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems.

Science is a Human Endeavor. Scientists and engineers are guided by habits of mind such as intellectual honesty, tolerance of ambiguity, skepticism, and openness to new ideas.

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Grade Range
6th-8th
Group Size
28
Total Time
1 hour
Area of Science
Pandemics – COVID-19
Human Biology & Health
Key Concepts
virus, epidemiology, infection, immune system, contact tracing
Credits
TeachEngineering logo
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