A Viral Enigma


On a recent biology excursion to Quantum Victoria, a small group of Year 9 students had the opportunity to learn about viruses and how they are created and mutated inside the human body. Students fought to find the cure to the global pandemic “Qube” virus which was threatening a global extinction. Students learnt how viruses can quickly spread and how they mutate inside the immune system.

In the first workshop, students used a program to simulate the “Qube” virus and how it spreads and different ways to prevent the spread. Students were instructed on what precautions can be taken to prevent the spread of viruses, adding different effects that would stop the spread such as isolation, wearing masks, and maintaining hygiene. Students were instructed to time how long it took for the virus to spread to everyone or to when it died out. Through the use of safety precautions, it took longer for the virus to spread or ended with the virus dead.

In the second workshop students learnt how viruses work and how they mutate, and studied DNA and RNA. Students were given a model DNA strand to break down to its chemical components and solve a riddle with the correct protein strand to help create a cure and send findings back to the “Global Health Organization”. Students learnt how DNA mutates and how it replicates.

In the third workshop with only 10% of the population left in the world, students had to work around the clock to synthesize a cure by gathering data in the “Dangerous” ground Zero. Students had to report back to the last remaining scientist in the lab who was also infected with the virus. Unfortunately the students were not fast enough to gather data and transfer it to the lab in order to save the scientist, leaving the cure to never be distributed.

The excursion to Quantum Victoria was a valuable learning experience for students, even though they were not able to find a cure for the “Qube” virus. Students learned about the nature of viruses, how they spread, and how they mutate. They also learned about the importance of safety precautions and the challenges of developing a cure for a global pandemic.

By Mark Minchella, Brodie Lund and Anthony Masiewicz