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Community discussion about the coronavirus

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Flavio Mendez Flavio Mendez 53041 Points

In a recent NSTA Blog titled: Leveraging Science in the News, Will Reed, teacher at Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep in Chicago writes:

As science teachers, particularly those of us working to implement three-dimensional (3-D) instruction in our classroom, we strive to make learning relevant to student experiences, engaging them in phenomena that have meaning in their own lives and enabling them to contextualize the learning. What better way to drive student interest than by drawing from current news headlines? Your students are probably already asking you questions about what they see on various media channels. A prime example of such a headline is the recent novel coronavirus, first documented in Wuhan, China.

What conversations are you having with students and colleagues at your schools?  What resources are you using from NSTA or other sources in your conversations?  Please share your thoughts, suggested practices, and ideas in this thread.

NSTA has made available a collection, including a Secondary Science lesson plan, authored by Reed. The collection also includes a variety of resources from NSTA.

Plan to join us for a live web seminar about COVID-19 on March 25, starting at 7:00 pm ET.  Registration to this and other web seminars is free at:


Emily Faulconer Emily Faulconer 5755 Points

My Campus is already fully online, with very few face-to-face classes at satellite locations, but we have had extensive talks with our counterparts at our residential campuses to help them rapidly transition online. My institution (higher ed) allows less flexibility to add emerging topics like this directly into the course; the format of my online class was already established the first week of January. However, the discussion topic in my chemistry class two weeks ago was a 'Chemistry in the News' topic and so I steered the conversation to focus heavily on coronavirus. I used this NSTA resource as a starting point for facilitating the conversation: Novel Coronavirus - What's the Real Story

I found some ACS articles to support students and now I see that ACS has collated articles into a list here: Chemistry in Coronavirus Research. 

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92326 Points

Hi Flavio,

This morning I switched to an online/virtual platform, where part of the class time that would have been face-to-face moved to our private university discussion forum set up by NSTA because my students use the NSTA Learning Center as their e-Text class bundle.  I posted a free probe that can be accessed in the Learning Center.  It is called, 'Catching a Cold' by Page Keeley and it is a book chapter.  I administered the probe to my students via the discussion forum.  I wanted to find out how many of my elementary preservice teachers had misconceptions on how viruses like the common cold are transmitted.  It was enlightening for me as their instructor and for them!  After we all had time to post our responses, I then had them read the book chapter.  Then I opened up a new discussion topic entitled, 'Our misconceptions and fears and how to hide/share them from/with our students'.  Students responded to specific questions that I asked, and then they had to respond to a couple of other peer responses.  In less than an hour my group of 12 students had 148 views and 52 responses. They confronted their misconceptions and shared their concerns.  It was an excellent discussion! As fears were confronted, good information about what we as a community, county, state and nation can be doing to slow down the spread of the Corona virus was shared.  They all better understood social distancing and the importance of hand washing.  I think they all have been empowered to make the best of our present situation.  They were able to firsthand see how important factual, scientific information is when dealing with real world problems.

Be Well!


Adjunct Professor of science methods courses

Southern Illinois University/Carbondale

Mary Bigelow Mary Bigelow 10275 Points

Thanks for hosting the web seminar on March 25. By then, the situation will probably be a lot different than it is today (it will probably be a lot different tomorrow, too). I think that is a challenge for teachers -- keeping up with the events and the science behind them to help students stay informed. Students can access so much online, so it's also important for students, their families, and teachers to learn how to recognize and share legitimate source of information, rather than personal opinion. -- Mary B

Marla Gonzalez Marla Gonzalez 130 Points

Hello Flavio Mendez, being a college students and not being able to go nack to campus face to face has been difficult. It is even more difficult when entering a program and working in clinicals. I think it is an awesome idea to have a 3d forum to teach the students it will enhance that face to face experice. Along with that now that we are back we are still getting used to being back on campus. I think it is great that we use such programs to be able to enhance our learning. 


Hostovz Cetovz Hostovz Cetovz 20 Points

In case you haven't heard, there is a pretty bad virus going around. It's called coronavirus and it's one of the first known viruses to be identified in the human body. Scientists refer to the virus as a SARS-like coronavirus but only because it is related to the SARS virus (which was produced by bats). Symptoms of the coronavirus are similar to those experienced by huff post patients with myocarditis, bronchitis and pneumonia as well as symptoms related to flu like fever, cough and sore throat. Deaths have been reported from several countries including Jordan, France, Germany and Saudi Arabia...

Randy Russell Randy Russell 620 Points

I have created a list of educational simulations & games from various source about diseases and the medical responses to them:

Simulations and games provide minds-on, active learning opportunities for students. If you have suddenly shifted to online teaching and need help engaging students in ways that partially substitute for the decrease in face-to-face and hands-on engagement the normal classroom environment provides, consider adding educational simulations to the mix.

If you want help conveying the complex systems aspect of infectious disease transmission, consider using educational simulations. And learning about modeling is a major component of the NGSS!

I'll be adding more items to my list in the coming weeks.

Erik Lucas Erik Lucas 705 Points

Thanks for the list! Definitely using these games in the coming weeks!

Allison Silva Allison Silva 610 Points

Hello Mr. Russell, I love the idea of mixing education with modern-day technology. I believe that students learn best when you provide them the opportunity to learn based on what they love, games! The game that I saw most enthralling was Biomedical plague because it demonstrated medical-like actions. 

Anna Mora Anna 550 Points

Hello Randy, I think this is an amazing concept. It helps students how to use technology in an educational way, and it is also hands on, which keeps them entertained. I think it is great to mic interactive online activities with modern day lessons. The students will engage more in the classroom since this relates to things they like. 

Jen Gutierrez Jennifer Gutierrez 1920 Points

All this incredible outpouring of support is so amazing and encouraging! I am so proud to be a part of this incredible organization that continues to step up to support educators! 

I have been helping to share these suggestions and ideas with our Districts across the U.S. - I will continue to try to compile and add them to the incredible growing list.

For members checking out this thread be sure to follow @NSTA on Twitter, as well as #NGSSchat and #NSTAchat. Lots of great free resources are continually being shared and updated as we all experience and learn more :)

Martin Weiss Martin Weiss 20 Points

The New York Hall of Science developed an interactive comic book about zoonotic diseases in order to help middle schoolers understand that a substantial number of diseases that afflict us are zoonotic; that they originate in other animals and infect us. We used the outbreak of West Nile disease in 1999 in New York City to help the users understand how diseases spread to us from other animals in this case from birds, animals that look nothing like us and how scientists use methods of science; collecting evidence, analyzing evidence, creating hypotheses and testing these against evidnece to solve mysteries. We created three protagonists who have very different lerning styles in an interactive comic book that is designed for the user to follow along as the kids collect and analyze evidence, mentored by scientists modled after the actual scientists who solved the mysterious disease that had crows 'falling from the skies'.

 Transmissions: Gone Viral is available, free, online at We have a blog about the creation, a teachers activity guide to accompany the online interactive comic and a downloadable print version (not interactive of course). You can learn more about Transmissions Gone Viral in an article from the November/December 2019 issue of ASTC’s Dimensions magazine.

This project and Transmissions: Gone Viral were created with support from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the National Institutes of Health under Award Number 5 R25 GM129168. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Zach Millan Zach Millan 639 Points

As of now, I am currently working on damage control for students who are scared of COVID-19 and reminding students of good hygeine practices to prevent the spread of the virus. Many of my colleagues are using this time to review course material with the students (since we were advised not to introduce new material for the time being), which has proven interesting with COVID-19 as the leading phenomenon. As of now, I only have my students reviewing news articles pertaining to COVID-19 to reinforce source legitimacy and the differences between primary and secondary sources. That said, I plan to recover viruses through a Virus Transmission virtual lab through Gizmo (ExploreLearning) which discusses the different modes of transmission. Then, I'm having students explore the effects of COVID-19 and elaborate on why we are practicing quarantine for this virus. For now, it has been a game of calming nerves for students through the pursuit of knowledge.


Hello!  I see that most of the posts for this forum are from about a year ago.  I have been fully online at my elementary school for almost a year now.  One of the discussions I've been having with my fourth graders is about how Covid has affected so many different aspects of our lives from exercise, commuting, pollution, communication, etc. 

Nicole Neumann Nicole Neumann 440 Points

Reflecting on the previous school year and how online and COVID impacted my students. It has been almost a year and a half since we shut down and my students are about a year to a year and a half behind their grade level in math and language arts. This year my peers and I are trying our hardest to play catch up in our students academics and social-emotional development. During this very crucial time, we are reflecting on activities and classroom management that typically would have worked in a previous year. I would like to know if anyone in this forum is seeing similarities to mine in their classroom?

Kylie Surber Kylie Surber 600 Points


I see that the original post is from about a year ago, and I am wondering how everyone is handling the learning process with Covid still being present? In my classroom I've noticed that most, if not all, of my 2nd grade students are functioning at a kindergarten level. They haven't experienced a real classroom environment in almost a year and a half. This has set my students back in their education tremendously. The teachers and I at my school have been working to come up with ways that we can catch them up to grade level, but it is difficult when we have children in our classroom that are non-readers and some who can't spell or recognize letter sounds. Does anyone have suggestions or similiar situations that they can provide some advice?

Andrew Atkinson Andrew Atkinson 150 Points


On my college campus it is difficult for students to be wearing masks and complying with the rules because the summer had limited restrictions, so lots of the conversations are complaining about the situation and the rules. There are some positive responses where people are compliant and understand our current situation. The classrooms are still impacted by COVID and students are definitely impacted as it limits the possibilites of lessons that professors can do. Personally, this semester is way better than last semester and it is more possible to be in science labs and do more group work which encourages academic conversations which demonstrate learning and enrichment. I am definitely looking forward to student teaching in a classroom that is not as impacted by COVID. 

Chris Schaeffer Chris Schaeffer 240 Points

Hi all!

In our school, we just came back from what we are now referring to as 'summer vacation 2.0'. What that means is that we came back for two days and then nearly all of our bus drivers fell ill to the coronavirus causing us to shut down school for a week. Since having come back we have been taking the opportunity to tell students in science class about the nature of science and using this topic as an example. We explain how in the beginning there was panic and concern over a novel virus with little research. Our hypotheses were much different then and they have since evolved to where we are now with a better understanding of what the virus does, how it affects us, and how to protect ourselves. 

It is how we have been attempting to turn a negative into a positive and use this to increase engagement as it is a topic most students are familiar with and willing to contribute to discussions about.

Halie Aumack Halie Aumack 530 Points

Hi everyone,

As a current college student, I am experiencing firsthand, the toll coronavirus is taking on our quality of education. Although we are in person this semester, it is nothing like it was in the past. College is the least personable to me this year as I feel students and professors lack relationships because of all the masks and protocols we have to take on campus. We all feel unmotivated and have expressed that through both our quality of work and our attendance as a whole.  We all feel that this semester has been one of the more rigorous courses load-wise because all professors are in the same boat. They don't know what we learned last year so they have to make up for lost academic time and as a result, the students are having a hard time readjusting. We all, however, understand the importance of health and safety during this time and will do anything to ensure we can get back to normal academic life as soon as possible.

When it comes to using NSTA sources, my Science Education class uses this website as our 'textbook'. It's full of awesome resources that give future students the materials they need to create their own lesson plans as well as provide them with articles that can better explain how to teach students more complicated concepts. The NSTA is readily available to use at any time and is especially useful for virtual learning so we try and incorporate it as much as possible. 


Allison Silva Allison Silva 610 Points

In the last few years, we have faced nothing but loss and fear. I know that it was tough for many of us, but how were you able to teach subjects such as science without being able to be there with the students? How did the students feel about the change?

Dianey Morua Dianey Morua 590 Points

I was not able to experience personally teaching subjects such as science without students, however I was actually the student receiving these online lectures. I was able to take a course my sophomore year dealing with science.The way this professor lead the class involved us doing our experiments through interactive labs. It allowed us to feel as if we were back in person completing these assignments. He also made sure to meet with us at least once a week to answer any questions we might have. He made it seem as if we were back to normality.

Robert Chapman Robert 20 Points

I can share that educators often engage in discussions about various teaching strategies, curriculum changes, student progress, and educational technology. They might discuss the implementation of new teaching methodologies, challenges faced in remote learning, strategies for student engagement, and ways to personalize learning for students with different needs.

Emily Ochoa Emily Ochoa 460 Points

hello, I think this is as an awesome way for students, like me, to get some work done other than the traditional assignments in class. I have really enjoyed browsing through the NSTA website and am looking forward to learning more through e-books and other resouces provided. 

What are other resources I can research and use through the NSTA website? 

Yesenia Rojas Yesenia Rojas 290 Points

Hello! These past few years, especially with COVID, have changed the classroom and educational environments for good, but as some people mentioned, relating to the students and using hands-on fun activities can reignite the spark to kick start the drive for learning again. 

What other activities and games do you as educators utilize in the classroom for engagement? 

Paola Pena Paola Pena 340 Points

Hi I believe this is a great sourse to use as a future educator and what I like the most is that I can keep it safe and use if for the long run. I have bene browsing through the website and believe it is awesome way of teaching and learning.  What other activites might you recommend for engaging students?

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