Reflection: Real World Applications Flu Tracking (Part 1/3) - Section 5: Student Discussion: The Importance of Tracking Disease


This is the first graph analysis and interpretation activity that I have students do for the year.  In our district, students are very familiar with creating graphs as they practice that skill a lot in both our ninth grade and middle school curriculum. However, because of the summer break, they tend to get lazy in interpreting graphs. One of the things that I like to do to start off the year is to present some professionally created graphs with a format with which my students might not be completely familiar.  Using those graphs, I have them practice their graph interpretation skills.  

Scaffolding in this way is especially important because the FluView Interactive database has so many different ways to show the data that is collected about the Influenza virus. I find it is important on day one to give students a sampling of the types of graphs they will see on the website throughout the course of the investigation.  Once they have some time to become familiar with the graphs, I walk them through how to interpret the graphs.  I make special note of anything unique about the graph.  Typically, I ask students to describe the graph to me before I tell them the things I notice about the graph.  I ask them the following questions:  

  • What do you see when you look at this graph?
  • Is there anything that stands out for you?
  • How is the x-axis labeled?
  • How is the y-axis labeled?
  • Can you describe the mathematical function? 
  • Where is the slope positive or negative? (What does that mean in terms of the graph?)

During this lesson, you will first see students working alone analyzing important features of three graphs.  Then we talk about the meaning of those graphs as an entire class.  At the end of the lesson, they will summarize key findings for which epidemiologists look in order to determine if a particular season might have a flu strain that could lead to a pandemic.  

  Supporting students in analyzing data
  Real World Applications: Supporting students in analyzing data
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Flu Tracking (Part 1/3)

Unit 2: Viruses
Lesson 7 of 11

Objective: Students will analyze past and present influenza data to determine how epidemiologists evaluate a spread of the disease.

Big Idea: Will it be a bad flu season this year? Use actual data to track the spread of the true flu.

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2 teachers like this lesson
Science, Biology / Life Science, Genetics, models / tables / graphs (rates of change), viruses
  46 minutes
h1n1 influenza
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