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Diseasebots HEXBUG Lab

By Skylar Hopkins

Radford University

This module explores the effects of host density on contact rates and transmission of pathogens using a hands-on experiment with HEXBUG robots.

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Version 1.0 - published on 24 Mar 2020 doi:10.25334/9JR0-DV86 - cite this

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Adapted from: Diseasebots v 1.0



Following a guided-inquiry approach, students hypothesize how the relationships between contact rates and host density might depend on the types of contacts that lead to transmission, or the "mode" of pathogen transmission. After making hypotheses and quantitative predictions, students use tiny robots to manipulate host density and measure the effects on contact rates. The activity is designed for a 90-minute lab period, and there is an optional homework activity that involves running a simulation with Excel to explore how contact rates affect whether an epidemic will occur or not.


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This adaptation does not include the Netlogo simulation or the real snail contact rate dataset. Instead, it focuses only on the HEXBUG robot experiment, and expands that activity for a 90 minute lab period.

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