I created this project as a way for my 6th graders to practice their statistical skills. They loved it! They get to pretend to be epidemiologists studying a virus outbreak that is turning people into zombies. It’s a fantastic way for students to see how statistics is used in the “real world” – they were also very interested to learn about the field of epidemiology.
The Project: Students pretend to be epidemiologists investigating a zombie outbreak occurring in the United States. Students apply their statistical skills to determine:
- Where the virus is originating
- Which patients are likely to become zombie
- Which symptoms are most common
-creating dot plots and bar graphs
-describing the distribution of data
-determining the mean and mode
-evaluating the usefulness of the measure of central tendency based on the data’s distribution
Here is a link to all of the materials you need, including the answer key which was made by Friederike Kolbe, a teacher who used this activity with her class.
- Print pg 3-8 for each student.
- Print a set of data for each student or each pair of students:
- Print BOTH maps for each student or each pair of students. (The maps will help students figure out which region each state belongs in.)
- Start by explaining what epidemiologists do (get the kids to say the word aloud a few times!)
- Dramatically introduce the Virus X Outbreak.Explain that the students are going to be epidemiologists investigating the outbreak
- Introduce all of the materials: it’s helpful for kids to have access to highlighters
- Tell them the CDC is counting on them