Biology uses COVID-19 as part of their curriculum


Lucas Barr

While in school, Pre-AP biology students began their unit on viruses. Coincidentally, teachers are using COVID-19 in their lessons so that students can connect their classwork with reality.

Erika Pernis, Guest Contributor

Before spring break, Pre-AP Biology students started their taxonomy unit by studying viruses. Coincidentally, the spread of COVID-19 was occurring as the topic was being covered, so as classes began being taught digitally due to this virus, teachers saw an opportunity to continue teaching the material while covering current real-life conditions.

Through the online unit, Pre-AP Biology teachers, including Deanna Cowger, included assignments and activities related to COVID-19 in order to help students realize that biology is happening right before their eyes. 

“We were looking for students to see the spread of the virus, shown on the interactive map we included. It went along well with a lab we did in class before the break where we simulated the spread of a virus,” Cowger said via email. “Watching a video about COVID-19, students also were able to have an understanding of the symptoms and how the viral replication works. Hopefully, students were able to take away from the virus module and see how what is happening in the world with thousands of people being infected at an exponential rate, disrupting lives and the economy – that the mechanism of how the virus is working is something we have covered in class.”

For freshman Sherry Hu, going beyond textbooks and note-taking has benefitted her learning on not only viruses but also the global pandemic.

“I think that the COVID-19 reading and interactive assignments better enriched our understanding of viruses,” Hu said via text. “Instead of doing only textbook reading, we are using the information we learned to apply it to a real-world situation, leading to awareness about COVID-19, which aids in our understanding of this unit.”

With the spread of the virus quickly escalating, learning the importance of social distancing and self-awareness has become more critical to freshman Sarthak Dhawan, who thought this unit helped students become more alert on the catastrophic occurrence.

“The first few lessons of the virus unit taught us that once a virus enters your system, there is little that can be done to stop it, thus simply protecting oneself from getting the infection as a whole is the best cautionary practice,” Dhawan said via text. “This concept indirectly raises awareness as people better understand the magnitude of the disease, and begin to self-isolate and keep the best hygienic principles in mind.”

The real-world application has enlightened other students like freshman Shannon Christian on the status of the world’s situation, as well as emphasize the seriousness of continuing to stay educated.

“I believe the assignments we have been working on in biology have been helpful in understanding the impact that a pandemic has on our world,” Christian said via text. “Learning in class about something that is currently happening in our world today is extremely helpful, it aids in having an awareness of our world and allows us to become more informed in a way that is relevant and useful.”