Pandemic 2 is a game in which players create a vicious, contagious, fatal disease and attempt to spread it around the world. The game allows you to select traits for your disease including symptoms such as coughing or open sores and means of transmission such as being airborne or carried by rodents. The game then uses statistics and probability to determine how many people are infected, whether or not a cure is discovered, and eventually if you are able to wipe out the entire world.
While the premise of Pandemic 2 is somewhat evil, it is very exciting when you finally manage to infect the island of Madagascar which is usually the last holdout of mankind after your disease has ravaged the rest of the planet.
This weeks featured challenge works directly against the ideas behind Pandemic 2, and asks students to use statistical analysis to combat the spread of infectious disease. This interdisciplinary approach will become more and more important as infectious diseases continue to affect people all over the world. How would you use math to prevent the spread of disease? Perhaps a few lessons can be taken away from a game which asks you to do the opposite.