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OUTING #1: Outbreak!

Understanding Why We’re Stuck at Home

New York Hall of Science


For our first outing, I thought that we should learn a little bit about how diseases like COVID-19 spread and why we are all stuck at home. Our Virtual Outing will take us to the New York Hall of Science in New York City. This AMAZING science center worked with several scientists and advisors (including a few dear friends!) to create a wonderful interactive comic book called Transmissions: Gone Viral. The story explains how scientists identify new diseases.

Read the comic here

After you read through Transmissions, watch this video from the World Health Organization about the origin of COVID-19.


  • How is COVID-19 like the West Nile outbreak in New York City? How is it different?

  • What do you think we could do to slow down the spread of COVID-19 now?

  • What do you think would be the most important information to try to learn about COVID-19 right now?


I couldn’t find any good activities modeling how a virus spreads, so I made one up called Outbreak!

To do it at home:

  1. Watch the video.

  2. Print the charts.

  3. Collect your other materials:

  • 100 tiles that have different colors or markings on each side. Mark 15 of them so you can tell them apart.

  • Scissors

  • Small piece of cardboard

  • Two different colored markers

  • Masking tape

  1. Model your virus outbreak using different scenarios. Which situations got the most people sick the fastest? Which scenarios slow down the spread of the virus?


Post your thoughts, model scenarios, and charts in the comments below, via Facebook, or by email!

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