Contact function lab for undergraduate or graduate courses

Hello, Educators! Contact rate functions are a central component in SIR models, but they can be difficult to cover in disease ecology courses, because things get “mathy”. So I developed a hands-on contact function lab that allows students to discover and explore the various contact functions using experiments with tiny robots, called HEXBUGs. HEXBUGs are so fun to use that other people have developed similar labs, and I borrowed the awesome SkyNet premise from one such lab designed by David Civitello. If you want to adapt and run a lab like this, you can buy the HEXBUGs online or in a toy store near you. I’m sharing the worksheet that that I used for this lab, which you are welcome to edit and share as you please. I’m also happy to send you the answer key and the final graph to help pick the best HEXBUG densities to use in your lab. Happy educating!

Lab Worksheet (Word doc)

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