Modeling the Spread of a Virus with Daniel Wendel

26 minutes

This week on TeachLab, Justin Reich is joined by Daniel Wendel, Research Manager and Software Developer of the MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program / Education Arcade. They discuss the importance and caveats of modeling, their use in the classrooms, and Daniel’s most recent collaboration project “Modeling the Spread of a Virus”, an interactive model designed to be used by teachers and parents for a conceptual understanding of how a virus spreads in a community, and how the individual can affect the collective. Learn more at

“ of the things with emergent models is that if you don’t understand the rules behind it, you might just think we just put those emergent things into the model. Being able to see in the back of the house, you can see those rules were never programmed into this model, it just kind of happened as a result of the other rules we did program into the model.”

  • How computational models differ from other models
  • Relation between Starlogo and Logo
  • Using complex system models in classrooms
  • Back-end of Starlogo / Block-based programming
  • Modeling the Spread of a Virus project
  • How the virus model can be used in education
  • How the model is different from reality
  • Learning how to use Starlogo Nova


Note to the audience:

The Teaching Systems Lab and the TeachLab team would like to thank all of our audience for their patronage as we attempt to shift our production and content in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. We think it is of the utmost importance to continue distributing as much content as we can, and as widely as we can, to assist those who are in need of information in these difficult times. We are working to improve the quality of our content with these new constraints and get back to a more regular scheduling. Thank you for your patience.


Resources and Links

Visit Modeling the Spread of a Virus

Learn more about the STEP/Ed Arcade

Learn more about Starlogo Nova

Learn more about Teachers with GUTS




Join our course on edX!

Becoming a More Equitable Educator: Mindsets and Practices


Produced, edited and mixed by Garrett Beazley


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