Students Learn How a Virus Goes Viral
Students Learn How a Virus Goes Viral

As news and fears of the coronavirus spread across the world, 9th grade science students took advantage of a new GOA online course offering to learn about how a virus goes viral.

"As part of our membership with Global Online Academy (GOA), they were flexible and agile enough to add this mini-course due to obvious current global events," explained Upper School History Teacher and GOA Site Director Dr. Adam Lavallee, Hon. "Eight GOA member schools abroad were closed because of the coronavirus."

**Learn more about EA's partnership with Global Online Academy in this episode of EA Unlocked.**

Cheryl Mitchell (AP Biology) and Jenn Jones (Biology) incorporated the pop-up course into their curricula. "During a Domino block, some of Mrs. Jones' biology students participated in a video chat with a student from a quarantined school in China," explained Dr. Lavallee. "What an incredible opportunity for EA students."

"I was really excited for my students to participate in an online platform. I did not have time to fit the coronavirus into the bio curriculum this year, so it was a welcome addition!" shared Mrs. Jones. "Also, the anatomy and physiology classes will be studying the immune system in a few weeks, so this was a great lead-in to that unit."

"Virology was an interesting topic to learn about, alongside biology," said Noah Rossin '23. "I learned all about what makes a pandemic, and historically, how they deal with it. Though it seems deadly, it's less fatal than SARS [to date], but more infectious."

"It was exciting because normally we have to wait until something is discovered, researched, analyzed, and published, which more often than not takes multiple years," explained Cayla Beaulieu '20. "The course was structured in a phenomenal way because we weren't given definite answers, but instead, it prompted us to think about what we can do and how we can most efficiently rid the disease. It gave statistics and background about the coronavirus, but the virus is evolving every day and there are still so many unknowns that won't be discovered for, at minimum, a few more months."

Students worked on the GOA modules as their time permitted. "I had the lab open during Domino, so they could come in to do their work," explained Mrs. Jones. "They participated in discussions and video chats with scientists, teachers, and students from around the world. They really enjoyed it," said Mrs. Jones.

The structure of the course included an introduction and welcome to students from around the world. Topics and discussions focused on understanding the facts, the emergence of the outbreak, and how different countries and organizations have responded and focused on recovery. At the completion of the mini-course, students submitted a reflection paper.

"I learned a lot during this course," reflected one 9th grade student. "I enjoyed how they set it up to relay basic information to give a good idea of background knowledge as a prerequisite to the course. I thought it was very interesting to hear the opinions of experts and people who are in the midst of the crisis right now. I also enjoyed learning about how governmental officials are planning to try and contain this infection, as well as how much they have helped their country."

"The coronavirus is normally something that affects animals only, but it can affect humans as well in some circumstances," said Cayla. "In each unit in honors anatomy and physiology, we examine case studies of homeostatic imbalances of the body. We learn about how the body reacts or doesn't react when it is in certain situations internally or externally; the coronavirus was refreshing to learn about because it didn't necessarily align with a specific unit that we studied, but rather was just a novel disease."

"The mini-course introduced EA students to a modern global classroom, allowing them to explore questions they have about an obviously relevant and timely topic," said Dr. Lavallee. "It was a great learning experience."