Who contaminated it?!

Students in Biology observed how easily a virus can spread as they worked on a pathogen transmission lab. Every student was given a cup of a clear liquid, and although they all looked exactly alike, one had a “virus” (distilled water and sodium hydroxide) and the rest were healthy (distilled water). In two separate rounds, each student added a little bit of liquid from their cup to another student’s cup. This created a scenario where each student was a “giver” twice, but the number of times they were a “recipient” varied. After the exchanges of “bodily fluids” were complete, Mrs. Dabdoub placed a few drops of phenolphthalein in everyone's cup. Those “infected” with the “virus” (the cups with any sodium hydroxide) turned bright pink. The class began to work on contract tracing to determine who was patient zero, the person who first “contaminated” the others.

Prior to the lab, students discussed major epidemics in history, the role played by the CDC, how epidemics become pandemics so easily in the modern world, and how COVID-19 was discovered.



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