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1 September 2016 Spreading Disease — It's Contagious! Using a Model & Simulations to Understand How Antibiotics Work
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Abstract

We describe how to enable students to learn about the transmission of disease, resistant bacteria, and the importance of taking a “full course” of antibiotics by developing models and simulations to represent the growth and demise of bacteria. By doing these activities, students experience a model of the effects of antibiotics on the population of disease-causing bacteria during an infection. Students learn about the spread of infection through game playing and then, using a simulation, investigate how different variables, such as skipping a day of medication, affect the persistence of the disease. A key concept is that almost every naturally occurring population of bacteria that causes disease has a component that is resistant to antibiotics. Therefore, through graphing data and computer models, students can visually understand why it is important to take a complete course of antibiotics to kill all the bacteria and decrease the likelihood of bacteria becoming resistant, which can be harmful to human health. In this hands-on, inquiry-based activity that is seamlessly integrated with technology, the teacher becomes the facilitator of learning while the student is an active, engaged partner.

© 2016 National Association of Biology Teachers. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press's Reprints and Permissions web page, www.ucpress.edu/journals.php?p=reprints.
Eva M. Ogens and Richard Langheim "Spreading Disease — It's Contagious! Using a Model & Simulations to Understand How Antibiotics Work," The American Biology Teacher 78(7), (1 September 2016). https://doi.org/10.1525/abt.2016.78.7.568
Published: 1 September 2016
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