Education Technology

Modeling Herd Immunity

Activity Overview

In this activity, students investigate the concept of herd immunity and the role vaccines/interventions can play in helping to control the spread of a communicable disease.


Students will be able to:

  • Relate and interpret multiple representations of the same situation
  • Use simulation to investigate probabilities
  • Use and interpret percentages in contextual situations
  • Identify common terms used in reporting the spread of a communicable disease

About the Lesson

In this activity, students will simulate the spread of a disease with a known transmission number in a community where a percent of the population is immune because they were vaccinated or because they had prior exposure to the disease. The process will help them identify the herd immunity threshold, the percent of the population that should be immune in order to stop the spread of the disease. Different diseases have different transmission numbers, and students will explore the effect of these different numbers on the herd immunity threshold.