Dayton Regional STEM Center
(937) 225-4598
200 S. Keowee St. Dayton, OH 45402

Achoo! Save the World from the Next Flu Pandemic

The influenza virus is a deadly human pathogen. It undergoes rapid genetic mutations during its life cycle and as a result renders annual immunizations necessary. This unit will introduce students to the genetics of influenza virus and other relevant knowledge, such as vaccine development and effectiveness. Students will perform research using publicly available epidemiology data from World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to understand the biology and genetics of the influenza virus from current and past influenza cases in different geographical areas. Students will create a simulation as part of the Engineering Design Challenge. The unit includes four major phases, with each phase representing a crucial piece of knowledge in learning about influenza. For each phase, students will identify real-world scenarios that may impact the disease outcome and incorporate their knowledge into their simulation design.

Engineering Design Challenge

Students will learn different aspects of influenza from basic biology, disease surveillance, vaccine development and implementation, treatment, as well as other relevant socioeconomic factors. Students will use their knowledge to create a scenario and probability based simulation. As students master each aspect of influenza, or phase, they will imagine different scenarios that may take place at that phase during the game. These scenarios will be assigned a cost by the students, based on the impact as well as the frequency of the scenario occurring, according to actual data. Combining all the phases, each containing a set of scenarios and the associated costs, students will develop an influenza simulation to demonstrate their learning of influenza. Moreover, the simulation can also serve as an educational tool for game players.