MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Flu Math Games

Richard C. Larson
Mitsui Professor of Engineering Systems
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139 USA


Sahar Hashmi
Graduate student
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139 USA


Mai Perches
Undergraduate student
Wellesley College
Wellesley, Massachusetts 02481 USA


Lesson vetted and approved by CPALMS

This video lesson shows students that math can play a role in understanding how an infectious disease spreads and how it can be controlled. During this lesson, students will see and use both deterministic and probabilistic models and will learn by doing through role-playing exercises. There are no formal prerequisites, as students in any high school or even middle school math class could enjoy this learning video. But more advanced classes can go into the optional applied probability modeling that accompanies the module in a downloadable pdf file. Materials needed for the lesson include paper or cardboard, plus scissors and tape or staples, for making green, red and blue-colored hats for each student. These supplies are also needed for making numbers to draw out of a hat. The primary exercises between video segments of this lesson are class-intensive simulation games in which members of the class 'infect' each other under alternative math modeling assumptions about disease progression. Also there is an occasional class discussion and local discussion with nearby classmates.

Online Animations, visit the Accompanying Online Animations for a selection of animations and/or simulations designed in coordination with the BLOSSOMS video flu games and intended to supplement the ideas covered in the BLOSSOMS module. These resources were developed by e-Learning Arabia.

 

Dr. Larson's specialty is Operations Research, an interdisciplinary field that uses mathematics and the scientific method to improve decision-making in industry and government. His current major research project is pandemic influenza, in particular focusing on steps that individuals can take to reduce the chances of becoming infected with the flu virus. Click here to read a full bio.

Sahar Hashmi is an MD from Pakistan and is interested in healthcare management. She is currently an MIT graduate student, first in MIT's System Design and Management program and now in the Ph.D. program of the Engineering Systems Division, who is doing research on pandemic flu spread and its relation to behavioral changes using non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI's).

Mai Perches is an undergraduate student at Wellesley College majoring in both Economics and Cinema and Media Studies.

This resource is a paper co-authored by Professor Richard Larson that discusses the importance of non-pharmaceutical interventions in preventing the spread of influenza.
http://blossoms.mit.edu/sites/default/files/Article.pdf

In this interactive, provided by NOVA, a player must use basic methods of field epidemiology to solve the medical mystery of a recent disease outbreak.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/typhoid/detective.html

Is Epidemiology In Your Future? This site presents a promotional video webcast showing the many sides, and the many career opportunities, of this critical health profession.
http://www.rwjf.org/pr/product.jsp?id=26931#content

This site, sponsored by the Yale University-New Haven Teachers Institute, provides a curriculum unit that aims to provide students with background knowledge for the study of mathematical content that can be applied to the biological sciences, and attempts to connect relevant topics from the high-school mathematics content to the concepts in microbiology that affect real-life situations.
http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/guides/2009/5/09.05.08.x.html

This site, sponsored by the Yale University-New Haven Teachers Institute, presents a cross-discipline mathematics unit designed for students in Algebra 2 or beyond. It incorporates functions with statistics to illuminate the useful nature of functions in translating data into models.
http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/guides/2009/5/09.05.06.x.html

This site presents “The Great Flu Game” in which a player has to manage a worldwide outbreak of a new influenza virus, before it turns into a pandemic.
http://www.thegreatflu.com/

This educational software/game illustrates the consequences of allowing the flu to spread in an interactive graphical simulation. It is intended to inform people of the reasons to take measures that will help prevent further spreading of the flu. Funded by the biomedical research charity, WellcomeTrust.ac.uk.
http://www.miniclip.com/games/sneeze/en/

This site, provided by the Florida Department of Health, provides useful information on the importance of hand-washing and “careful” coughing in preventing the spread of flu.
http://www.fifthguy.com/handwashing.htm

This site provides resources to help hospital administrators and state and local health officials respond to the H1N1 flu pandemic.
http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/tools/

This educational video describes flu viruses, how they infect the human body, and how researchers are finding vaccines for influenza.
http://www.ndep.us/Tracking-the-Flu

Appreciate you sharing, great

Anonymous
April 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Appreciate you sharing, great blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.

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This Lesson is in the following clusters: Health

Appreciate you sharing, great

Anonymous
April 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Appreciate you sharing, great blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.