Education Technology

Modeling Virus Spread

Activity Overview

In this TI-Nspire activity, students will explore a simple introduction to the idea of logistic growth through an easily acted out simulation: spread of a virus through a population.  


 Students will be able to:

  • Model a contextual situation mathematically and use the model to answer a question
  • Use data from a simulation to create a scatter plot, and describe how a variable changes over time
  • Determine and interpret a function modeling a quantitative variable over time

About the Lesson

In this activity, students explore logistic functions which are used to describe growth in many real-world situations: animal population growth under limited resources, spread of a disease or a rumor through a community, or the cumulative sales of a new product. This activity can be used with secondary school students with some basic familiarity with exponential growth and decay.  The students should be familiar with using tables or scatterplots to identify trends and patterns. Students physically model the spread of a disease with the aid of a simulation easily carried out with a random number generator on a TI-84 Plus CE. This activity could be used as a nice introduction to logistic growth and models. .