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This activity simulates how a pathogen can spread among a population. Students will exchange paper with one another to simulate the epidemiology of tracking an infectious agent. After this activity, the students should have a better understanding of how infectious agents spread from person to person and ways to prevent outbreaks. It can be adapted to a variety of scenarios. For example, the infectious agent could be HIV or another pathogen that is spread by human contact. This activity can be used with ASM's Intimate Strangers Episode 6 video podcast. 

Intended Audience

5-8 X



Learning Objectives


By completing this activity, the student will:
  1. Learn the concepts involved in epidemiology.
  2. Discuss the importance of epidemiology in disease prevention.
  3. Experience tracing the spread of a pathogen through a population.
Necessary Student Background

None required.


Epidemic, Pathogens, Infectious agents, Transmission, Epidemiology, Prevention

Print a PDF of this activity

Outbreak! Investigating Epidemics (15 pages)