PATIENT ZERO

Did you know you’re supposed to sing the ABCs to yourself when you wash your hands? In today’s experiment, we learned why it’s so important to protect ourselves from infectious disease. By giving all the students Dixie cups filled with “bodily fluids” (water for most students, vinegar for one student) and allowing them to “share germs” (mix the contents of their cups), they simulated the spread of an infectious disease (fictional, of course, with symptoms including but not limited to laugh attacks). The kids tested the pH of their fluids using pH indicator strips and worked backwards to track the epidemic to “patient zero”, the first person to fall sick. In the end, the kids learned that some diseases can spread at an exponential rate. And they learned that herd immunity can protect an entire population from infectious disease - provided that enough people get vaccinated.