Modeling Disease Spread
This interactive module can be used to model infectious disease spread in a population using the SIR model. It includes background on the components of the SIR model and factors that affect the spread of disease, as well as two simulators for modeling disease spread on different scales.
The Click & Learn contains the following main sections:
- Introduction: Provides background on infectious diseases and how they spread.
- SIR Model Basics: Discusses the basic components of the SIR model. Also includes the “Outbreak Simulator” (and an accompanying tutorial), which can be used to simulate disease spread in a small population, collect data, and build a graph.
- SIR Model Advanced: Discusses mathematical equations for the SIR model and additional factors that affect the spread of disease. Also includes the “Epidemic Simulator”, which can be used to simulate disease spread in a large population, calculate certain metrics, and generate graphs.
An accompanying worksheet guides students’ exploration. Additional information related to pedagogy and implementation can be found in the “Educator Materials.”
Student Learning Targets
- Use the SIR model to simulate the spread of an infectious disease in a population.
- Collect data to build, analyze, and interpret SIR graphs.
- Predict how different parameters (e.g., transmission and recovery probabilities or rates) and interventions (e.g., vaccination) affect disease spread dynamics.
- Describe assumptions and limitations of the SIR model.
assumption, epidemiology, immunity, infectious, recovery, simulation, SIR model, susceptible, transmission, vaccination
The resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. No rights are granted to use HHMI’s or BioInteractive’s names or logos independent from this Resource or in any derivative works.
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
SEP2, SEP3, SEP4, SEP5
AP Biology 2019
SP1, SP2, SP4, SP6
IB Biology 2016
Common Core 2010
ELA.RST.9-12.3, ELA.RST.9-12.7, MP2, MP4
Vision and Change 2009
CC5, DP2, DP3, DP6