You Make Me Sick! Teacher Guide - Spreading Diseases

Spreading Diseases

Time Required



Students will investigate how diseases are spread by simulating the spread of a virus. Students will show what they know by completing a written assignment.



PencilVirus Simulation student handout, from AppendixRuler or other straightedgeYou-Make-Me-Sick Written AssessmentOne cup of "exchange fluid"Six small empty cupsIodine solution and dropper


Computer and Internet access


Make copies of the Viral Simulation student handout and the You-Make-Me-Sick Written Assessment. Prepare materials for the simulation at least one hour before class. Each student should receive an exchange cup, which simulates bodily fluid. All exchange cups except for one should be half-filled with water, which represented uninfected fluids. The other cup should be filled halfway with a mixture of water and a pinch of cornstarch. Mix so that it looks as much like plain water as possible. This represents the infected fluid. Do not indicate that this cup is any different than the others.

Warm Up: Game Discussion

Guide a class discussion of You Make Me Sick! by asking students about their experiences playing the game for the first time. Record students’ responses on the board.

  • What did you learn by playing the game?
  • How did your prior knowledge of bacteria and viruses help you play?
  • What was most challenging about the game?
  • What strategies did you use to earn points?

Game Play!

Have students play You Make Me Sick! with their partners for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Students should continue with their previous game.

Pause and Think

Circulate as students play and ask them questions about the game:

  • Which hosts have you infected and how?
  • Were you unable to infect any hosts? If so, why?
  • What is the role of the immune system in the game?
  • Ask students to create a list of instructions for a student just learning the game. Tell students to be sure to suggest ways of successfully infecting hosts and earning the most points.

Hands-On Activity: Simulating the Spread of a Virus

Explain to students that they are going to work as a class to simulate the spread of a virus. Distribute copies of the Virus Simulation student handout and review it together. Assign students to groups of six. Remind them that they should not exchange with the same person more than once.

As students get started, circulate to make sure everyone remains on task and works safely and efficiently. Students should share their results by writing them on the board or in a place where the entire class can see them. As soon as all of the results are on the board, students can clean up their workstations, begin making their graphs, and complete the handout. You may need to walk students through the process for making the graph. Review the graph and their answers as a class.

Show What You Know: Written Assessment

Print out and have students complete the You-Make-Me-Sick Written Assessment from the Appendix.

Wrap-Up Activity: Venn Diagram Review

Refer students to the Venn diagram from the Pre-Assessment. Review the three sections, and ask students to think about whether or not they learned anything that they can add or change on the diagram. Encourage students to think carefully about the game and to refer to the glossary. Work as a class to try and use as many glossary terms as possible to fill in the diagram more completely.