In the Virus Tracker game, players become part of a virtual virus- spreading exercise in which the bar-coded wristbands they are given represent their infection with a particular virus. The first person to be infected is known as “patient zero” and from there he or she can choose how many wrist bands to give away, i.e. how many others to infect. Those receiving the next round of bands can also choose how many others to infect and so on until all bands are accounted for. Each game kit includes a scanner so the bar codes can be scanned and linked together in a database that will show an illustration of the resulting “transmission tree”, as well as other statistics about the virtual epidemic. Each participant can find his or her place in the tree, and trace the path backwards to find “patient zero.”
Virus Tracker was developed for use in middle and high school classrooms. A game kit includes the software (teacher must have access to the internet during the game), scanners, barcodes, instruction manual and suggested curriculum materials, and is free. To reserve the game kit, fill out this survey.
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