Grades 9 - 12
One of our country's greatest health challenges is infection
with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Today most of the people with AIDS
are young adults. In this lesson, students will discuss ways to avoid contracting
HIV and then participate in an activity which models the rate of growth
of a communicable disease within the community. Students will collect data,
display a graphical representation of the results of the simulation, and
make predictions about future results based on the logistics function they
[AIDS education may be controversial in your community. Parent permission
may be desirable before using this lesson. The mathematics used in this
lesson could also be adapted to any communicable disease (such as hepatitis).]
Right Turns Only: Alcohol and Other Drugs and At-Risk Behavior
Concerning AIDS & Teenage Pregnancy (Lesson #105)
Students will be able to:
- Collect data from a classroom simulation of an exponential growth
function (HIV and AIDS).
- Plot data on a two-coordinate grid and estimate the line of best fit
(using estimation procedures or technology support).
- Make predictions about the behavior of the function during different
Per student group of 3-4 students
- 5 sheets of colored paper (same color)
- 5 sheets of colored paper (same color, but different from above)
- Masking Tape
- Student Worksheet (Medical Convention)-Duplex and fold into brochure
- Dice (one per student)
- Audio tape or CD player with five 2-3 minute musical recordings (Optional)
- Graphing Calculators and/or Overhead Display to show Exponential Regression
The teacher should set a serious tone for the classroom by saying,
"It has been said that making small mistakes in life are good learning
experiences, but making large mistakes can take years to recover. We also
know that taking major risks in the way we live our lives can be very costly
for ourselves and our families. These risks have been changing over the
years. Think about the lives your parents and grandparents led. How do they
compare with the experiences you encounter? Let's take a few minutes and
work in groups of 3-4 students to generate a list of Life's Difficult Challenges
faced by people in the 1960's and those faced by you today in 1996."
Provide each student group with 10 pieces of colored paper (5 each of two
different colors) and a marker. Give students approximately 10 minutes to
brainstorm the difficulties people faced during the 1960's and those they
face today, in 1996. Each group will record a different 'Life Challenge-'60s'
on one color of paper and a different 'Life Challenge-'96' on a different
color. During this discussion, the teacher should make two large category
headings on the board. The headings are Life Challenges-1960's and Life
After students have completed recording their ideas say: "Now let's
share your ideas. Go to the board and tape your ideas beneath each heading
so that other students can see them."
Begin with one group. Discuss the ideas as they are posted. Allow the second
group to tape their ideas to the board. If they have the same or similar
idea shared by the Group 1, they should tape their colored paper over that
matching Group 1. Continue until all groups have shared their 10 ideas.
Allow for student discussion. In most cases, students will suggest a medical
life challenge, particularly the HIV virus and/or AIDS. If this was not
suggested, the teacher should offer it as a possibility and allow students
to share ideas around AIDS as a life challenge. Suggest that education can
have a dramatic effect in helping reducing the risk of contracting this
very serious disease.
Say, "One of the ways we can educate others about HIV and AIDS is through
video programming. We are going to watch a video that was produced to help
students recognize risks we all face in life. This educational product can
provide information to help each of us make good decisions about avoiding
hazardous life challenges."
To give students a specific responsibility, say: "As you
watch the segment Right Turns Only, write down any information you hear
that would help someone understand more about HIV and AIDS." START
tape at the beginning of the Right Turns Only heading.
PAUSE tape after TV teacher explains how AIDS is transmitted.
Say, "Were you aware of the ways in which AIDS is transmitted?"
Allow students to answer and encourage discussion. Say, "What other
questions might be in the minds of these students in this class?" Write
suggested questions on the board and say, "Let's see if these students
thought of the same questions. " RESUME tape and PLAY
until the end of the first question, "So we can't really get AIDS just
being around somebody?"
PAUSE tape and verify that students had included that question or
add it to their list of questions.
RESUME tape and play until the end of the second question: "What
about kissing?" Compare this question to those generated on the board.
Discuss possible answers to this question.
RESUME tape and verify the answer to the 'kissing' question. PLAY
until the school bell rings and the street sign Right Turn Only appears.
Say, "In your groups, make a list of the dangers encountered when participating
in the activities which transmit AIDS. These should be ideas that these
students could include to make a more powerful video presentation about
the dangers of sex and needle-sharing. " As students are discussing
these connections, FAST FOWARD tape through the separate discussions
between the young men and the young women. When the Right Turn Only sign
appears again, PAUSE tape. Have students share their ideas and record
this list on the board. (Be sure the list includes teenage pregnancy and
dangers to unborn babies by drug-using mothers.)
To compare the class list to the ideas generated by the video project, RESUME
tape and play until the doctor says, "Don't take the chance. Don't
roll the dice with your life or your baby's life." PAUSE tape.
Say, "We are now going to see how the 'roll of the dice' can help us
understand how quickly a disease, such as AIDS, can spread in our community.
Our class will assume the role of a group of doctors at a medical convention.
As a doctor, you are involved with the prevention and cure of AIDS. During
this convention, each of you will represent one of your patients who may
be at risk of contracting HIV. We will assume that you have no information
about this patient."
Distribute Medical Convention Worksheet and one die to each student. Have
one of the students read the introductory paragraphs on page 2 of the worksheet.
(Students should complete the sentence listing the two main ways of spreading
Say, "We are now going to create a mathematical model that shows how
the HIV virus can affect our patients. As doctors, we must respect the confidentiality
policies of our patients. To do this, we will refer to our patients using
case numbers only. You will be unaware of the age, gender, and behavior
patterns of the person you represent. Now, roll your die five times and
record each roll as one of the digits of your case number. " After
students have completed this step, have them list each case number in a
matrix on the board, organizing the list by the first digit of the case
numbers. Example Matrix:
1 2 3 4 5 6
Say, "We will now examine the growth of HIV/AIDS, using a die to simulate
the behavior of our case study patients. During each of the five timed intervals,
you will circulate through the room and meet several different subjects
(other people). As the music begins, introduce yourself to someone in the
room. Each of you will record one another's case number in 'Timed Interval
1.' To simulate patient behavior, have one person toss one die. If a 1 or
a 6 appears, both individuals circle the case number recorded on the worksheet.
This represents Risky Behavior. If a 2, 3, 4, or 5 appears, each person
will cross off the case numbers they recorded. This represents Safe Behavior.
Then move on to a different individual, repeating the same simulation, recording
case numbers and indicating Risky or Safe Behavior (by circling or crossing
off the case number) in Timed Interval 1. Continue meeting new people until
the music stops. " The teacher will play one 2-3 minute song (or time
2-3 minutes). (As students participate in the simulation, the teacher should
FAST FOWARD the video tape through the student dance and the interviews
with the teenage moms. As the young man asks for the video camera to make
an AIDS commercial, stop the tape - to be resumed at this point after the
Say, "We will now continue the simulation but will record our data
in Timed Interval 2. Continue in this same manner, meeting new people as
well as previous encounters, recording case numbers and safe and risky behavior
as you did during the first timed interval."
PLAY a second song or time 2-3 minutes. At the end of this time period,
direct students to continue in the same simulation, but record data in Timed
Interval 3. PLAY a third song. Continue in this manner through five
timed intervals. This should take approximately 15 minutes.
Upon completion of the data collection, discuss the following questions:
1. What are the probabilities associated with the Risky Behavior and the
Safe Behavior of our case studies? Does this numerical value seem reasonable?
2. How many case studies do you think will be infected at the end of each
timed interval? Record prediction. 3. Do you think an aggressive education
program may change these results?
After a discussion of these questions, say: "We are now ready to record
the results of our simulation on the graph on page 4 of your Medical Convention
Worksheet. Let's suppose that one of the case studies was actually infected
with the HIV virus. We will select that person randomly."
The teacher should toss a die, matching each digit of the case numbers until
a unique individual is determined. Say, "Since we have made the decision
to begin the growth of this function with 1 infected individual, plot the
value 1 for the beginning of our experiment (Timed Interval 0)." Direct
attention to the case study numbers recorded in the matrix on the board.
Circle the case number of the randomly selected infected person.
Say, "Look at the information you gathered during Timed Interval 1.
Raise your hand and report your case number if you had RISKY BEHAVIOR with
the infected person." Circle these new case numbers in the matrix and
plot the total number of infected patients on the graph at Timed Interval
1. Direct students to Timed Interval 2 and say, "Raise your hand if
you had RISKY BEHAVIOR with any of the infected patients from Timed Interval
1." Circle these newly infected patients and record the cumulative
number of reported cases on the graph at Timed Interval 2.
Continue in the same manner through the remaining Timed Intervals. Complete
the graph by plotting the remaining points and then discuss the results.
(If the mathematics background of the students is appropriate, use a graphing
calculator to determine the equation of the regression line. Discuss predications
and the logistics curve.)
Say, "We can see how quickly an infectious disease can spread through
a community. We can help reduce the risk of contracting a disease like AIDS
by educating others. We must help everyone understand how a partner's former
or current behavior can affect our own health." To give students a
specific responsibility while viewing, say: "As you watch the commercial
made by the young students in this program, decide if the message is strong
and clear enough to encourage viewers to eliminate Risky Behavior in each
of their lives"
RESUME tape and play to the end of the show. Have students discuss
the strengths and weaknesses of this student-made commercial.
Repeat the simulation using only 1 number to represent Risky
Behavior. Ask students to predict the growth of this function with a risk
factor of 17% rather than the 33% used in the first simulation. Compare
and discuss these two models. Discuss the following questions in small groups
and share the ideas with the entire class: 1. Do you think a good educational
program around these risks would help save lives? 2. What type of educational
program would be most effective?
Have students make a brochure that educates their peers about the dangers
of the RISKY BEHAVIOR which could result in the HIV virus. Include graphs,
information, and research that would impact the reader. Share these brochures
with other students in the school.
Design a Town Meeting in your school to help educate all students
about one of our country's greatest health challenges--HIV/AIDS. Obtain
a speaker phone and provide students with the opportunity to make a Classroom
Call to the CDC National AIDS Hotline at 1-800-342 AIDS.
Make your own video, similar to the one made by the students in Right Turns
Only, which helps educate your community about these issues. Contact your
local television station for possible distribution on a local access channel.
The growth of infectious diseases is an exponential function. Explore other
real-life applications of exponential growth and decay.
Use a spreadsheet to make radical and subtle changes in the parameters of
the 'growth problem.' Compare and contrast the results of these changes.
Research other communicable diseases which have affected communities. How
has medical research intervened in these situations?
Read current prose and poetry written by people who have contracted
Master Teacher: Marilyn Stor
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worksheet associated with this lesson.
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