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iLabs: PANDEMIC! — Part II

August 1, 2014

Here is the second installment written by our intern, Megan Polzin, about her efforts in creating a Pandemic class:

iLabs: Teaching Middle School Students About Pandemics

In the last post, I detailed how I began to create a class about Pandemics for my summer project. After the initial planning phase, I realized that there would be numerous challenges to face in order to create an exciting presentation followed by a board game activity capable of allowing more than four people to play.

Power Point slide showing facts about one example of a famous pandemic — malaria.

Power Point slide showing facts about one example of a famous pandemic — malaria.

To create an engaging PowerPoint presentation, I added many facts I thought the students would find interesting. In particular I included the six stages of a pandemic, pathogen examples, disease vectors, famous pandemics, and facts about vaccinations. Throughout the presentation are many colorful images as well as four short videos. I added the videos to help break up the lecture, so that the students aren’t hearing me talk for thirty minutes straight!

Compared to the difficulties with the Pandemic board game, the issues with the PowerPoint were a breeze to handle! Some of the challenges I had to tackle in order to transfer this board game into a classroom setting included allowing a large group of people to see the board and the tiny cards.

To solve the first problem, the Pandemic board itself will be projected onto a large TV screen by the ELMO camera provided in the Micro World Investigate Lab.

Pandemic Game Board projected onto large TV screen with ELMO camera

Game board projected onto large TV screen with ELMO camera.

Enlarged Pandemic game pieces

Enlarged Pandemic game pieces.

Because of this, other complications arose! Projecting the game resulted in some pieces showing up on the TV better than others. Both the disease cubes and research stations were able to be seen, but the player pawns became distorted when viewed from above. So instead of using the pawns, I created larger versions that can be attached directly to the TV screen!

When utilizing the camera, some pieces of the board are cut off. To solve this, I crafted a poster board containing these parts to be placed at the front of the room.

Example of the poster with expanded section of game board not seen on TV via ELMO

Example of the poster with expanded section of game board not seen on TV via ELMO camera.

To make the cards bigger, I scanned them to my computer and placed them on 8.5’’ x 11’’ sheets of paper. Now the role cards and reference cards can be viewed by more than one person at a time. I have also provided each group with a map card containing the Pandemic board. In case a student cannot read a city’s name on the TV screen, the map card is there for easy reference.

Enlarged Pandemic Game Role and Destination cards

Enlarged Pandemic Game Role and Destination cards.

The final thing I did was create a Setup board. This contains instructions for setting up the board as well as basic rules for playing the game. Like the map card, this poster is there for easy reference to help the students as they progress through the game.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing the formation of this class! The next post will be about how this class went and the modifications that can be made to improve it!

 

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