Flu Virus Classroom Activity

Goal:  To give a visual model to how rapidly contagious diseases spread.  This activity can be adapted to many levels of math knowledge.


Teacher Notes:  You may want to research the Corona virus spread rate and lay groundwork for the students.  Be sensitive to deaths that may of occurred in your student’s lives recently.  As a teacher, you will need to decide which of the following you want students to do:

  • complete a table of the number of infected students
  • determine the infection rate
  • graph of the data
  • write the equation for predicting the number of people infected



  1. Each student receives a notecard with an ID number (1-40) or however many students

are in the class.


  1. One student is infected (only the teacher knows who).What is the probability that the student is the virus carrier?  Remember for this simulation, an infected person will infect other people that he/she is “close to”, not everyone they are around.


  1. During each round of the simulation (which models a day at school), students mingle with 5 students.This represents that as a student you come in contact with lots of people each day but only are close to 5 per day.  Is that realistic?  Record by name students who you were close to.   Adjust the “infection rate” with only 1 or 2 students of the 5 infected if you want to be more realistic.


  1. Do 5 rounds, representing 5 days of school.


  1. At the end, have the infected person stand up.Then have the 5 people he/she were close to on round 1 stand up.  Complete the table below on the board following the “infected” people


  1. Have students look to see if they mingled with any of the infected students, if so they stand up.


  1. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the next 4 days of infection.


Day 0 Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5