COVID19 & How Rumors Spread

Math is the science helping us keep track of COVID19 and how to flattening the curve.

In the article from Quanta Magazine, the spread of flu was compared to the spread of rumor.

If each day, each person who heard the rumor yesterday tells two new people, then after 30 days the rumor will have reached more than a quarter of the world’s population (2,147,483,647 people, or 231 − 1, to be exact). How can such a seemingly small change — telling two people instead of one — make such a big difference? The answer lies in rates of change. (From Quanta Magazine)

Problem Posing

Sample Prompt:  

    • What do you wonder about?
    • From the list of wonders, how can we use math to make a decision? How can math serve our needs?            
    • What do you notice? What do you wonder?
    • What is interesting or important about this situation?
    • Who cares about this situation?
    • What other information do you need?  Are there important quantities?

      How fast is the rumor spreading? Are we telling two people a day or three people a day?

Making Assumptions and Considering the Variables

Sample Prompt:  

Gathering Information

    • If I knew______, then I could figure out_______
    • Let’s assume__________.
    • What assumptions can we make around the problem to simplify the problem posed?
  • Here is some information to help the with their math happening.


Solving- Doing the Mathematics/Building a model

Sample Prompt:  

  • What math do you know that can help you solve the problem?
  • What are some common misconceptions that could arise at this stage, and how can they be addressed?


Sample Prompt:  

  • How might we use our solution to other similar problems?
  • Can this solution help us with other problems?

 Is there a model/formula that I can reuse or share with other types of problems/phenomenon in our real world?


Analyzing and revising the model

Sample Prompt:  

  • How might we become even more precise with our model?
  • How might our model change if we changed some of our previous assumptions?


Reporting out- Sharing & Connecting Real world Math to school math

Sample Prompt:  

  • How does all the math we used in this problem relate to what we covering as math topics this year?
  • Can you identify all the math and strategies we used to tackle this problem?


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