The Virtual Classroom: The Science of COVID and More

Map courtesy of Johns Hopkins University

Bob Fest is using his virtual science classroom to take on COVID-19 questions from a scientific perspective. In a world where fake news is touted and scientific data is scoffed at, Bob is taking on the responsibility to guide students toward reliable resources. He and his biology students have participated in a Q&A webinar on COVID-19 and other similarly dangerous and viral diseases, and have been tracking reported cases via the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

In his IB Environment Systems & Society class, students are looking at the pandemic through the lens of wildlife trafficking and are researching how diseases can jump from humans to animals and vice versa. Bob points out how the possibility of transference “is magnified by habitat destruction and the consumption of wild animals such as bats and primates.” Students in this course are working on research-based opinion pieces of their own that they will submit to local news sources in hopes of publication.

In addition to these COVID-19 related inquiries, Bob’s students are partaking in some more hands-on activities. The students in his IB ESS class have done tests on the soil in their own backyards and have made digital stop motion videos documenting the process. Bob intends this assignment and the videos the students produce to be” informative, scientific, creative, and fun!”

Furthermore, Bob will be live-streaming lessons on aquatic turtle surveying. After he safely and humanely catches a variety of turtles, the students will record and compare data on their physical characteristics. Activities like these will not only provide a way to continue students’ education remotely, but will also help students to safely get out of the house and into nature during social distancing.

Watch a student video from Amari Woods ’21.

Watch a student video from Abby Byrtus ’20.

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