With our consensus model, we're feeling pretty good about how the heartworm can possibly end up in the dog. But all along we've been curious about how this deadly disease can actually transfer to many dogs...and if it even can! With some vet records, we were able to not only see that other dogs have had the same symptoms as Buddy and Susie, but that they live in the same area as these dogs, too!
We then began thinking about how our models have evolved over time...first it started as a diagram explaining how the heartworm may have ended up in the dog, then how the maps were a useful model to show where and when various dogs got infected. But we still had some skeptical students that aren't fully convinced that our thinking is valid. So we're going to build our own model as a simulation. Students may have gotten some materials from Mrs. Brinza before remote learning started!
Within our breakout rooms, we had LOTS of conversations around what important parts of our model would need to be represented, along with how the model would actually run with supplies we had in our homes that were not provided by Mrs. Brinza. We came to an agreement that all the materials that were provided by Mrs. Brinza could be the dogs and the mosquitoes, and that students would have to supply the "blood" and the "heartworms!" We'd be testing for the heartworm with this special paper we got (pH paper).
We had lots of ideas of what the heartworm could be from our homes (i.e. vinegar, salt, sugar, baking soda, cleaner, etc.). So we figured we should test all these things against just regular blood without heartworm (water). This way we'll figure out which substance will be the most helpful in running our model as we truly figure out how heartworm spreads from dog to dog!
Our unit is absolutely related to real world phenomena right now: COVID-19 and the effects of climate change. While we are not specifically figuring out COVID-19, we recognize understanding disease transmission is important!