PANDEMIC – Activities

Possible Learning Outcomes

  1. Knowledge of infection, epidemic and pandemics and of Covid-19 in particular; the difference between being immune and being susceptible; some major past pandemics: HIV/Aids, Flu Pandemic (1918-20), The Black Death/Bubonic Plague (1346-1353).
  2. Knowledge of how to prevent the spread of a disease like Covid-19.
  3. Knowledge of key spellings and definitions.
  4. Cooperation in following the rules of games. Learning through physical exercise and playground games.
  5. Hygiene and disease control through thorough hand washing and increasing social distance.
  6. Simulating the investigative and writing activities of a journalist.
  7. Creative writing and storytelling.
  8. Applying the skills and procedures of formal debating to a pressing national health and social issue: national management of a pandemic.

Comprehensive guidance for the management of COVID-19 in schools is found in this World Health Organisation Booklet. To download a copy, click on the picture here…

Activities for Younger Children

Activity 1 – Spelling and defining

Teacher writes on chalk board the following words and their definitions and gives the class a day to learn them.

In – Infection

Ep – Epidemic

Pa – Pandemic

Im – Immune

Su – Susceptible

At the end of the day the board is cleaned and the next day there is a class test.

  1. The teacher writes one of the following on the chalk board: In, Ep, Pa, Im and Su
    And asks the class to put up their hands if they know the word, e.g. Epidemic for Ep.
  2. A child is chosen and asked to say the word.
  3. Once they get the word right, then the child can nominate another child to spell the word.
  4. If that child gets the spelling right, they nominate a third child to give the definition.
  5. You then continue to the next word. If a child gets something wrong, it passes to someone else to have a go.

Activity 2 – Covid-19 Infection Game

The aim of this game is to show how infections like Covid-19 spread from person to person.

The more people you make contact with the faster the virus spreads.

Stage 1 : One Contact per Person

Get you group of children together in an open space with boundaries marked.

The teacher notes the start time. One child (the one with the infection) chases the other children until they catch one by touching them and shouting Covid-19 – then two are infected.

These 2 each have to catch someone else. When they do 4 are infected.

The 4 catch another 4, until 8 are infected.

The 8 catch another 8 and once all the children have been caught and infected, the game ends and the teacher checks the time and works out how long it has taken for the infection to spread to everyone.

Stage 2: Two Contacts per Person

Repeat the game. Start with 2 children infected. Note the time and say Go. Each of the two infected children have to catch by touching and shouting Covid-19 2 more. So then 6 are infected.

These 6 each catch 2 more – so 18 are infected. The 18 then each catch 2 more, and so on until everyone has the virus. Teacher notes the time taken to infect everyone, which will be less than in stage 1 when each person only infects 1 person.

Moral of the Story: If everybody reduces the number of people they contact, it takes longer and makes it harder for an infection to spread.

Stage 3: Some People are Immune to the disease

  1. Herd Immunity – One child is chosen as the infected one and close their eyes while the teacher points to half of the class who are told (or give a piece of paper with I for Immune or S for Susceptible). If they are an I, then they have some natural immunity. Repeat the stage 2 game. At each stage bring together all those that have been caught. Ask those who are Immune to stand aside and leave the original child and the Susceptible ones, who have now caught it to catch the others. It is now harder for the infected people to find susceptible ones. At the end it is clear that few extra people have been infected.
  2. Virus Vaccine – This time imagine that a vaccine has been developed to protect people from the infection. Now, tell the children that everyone has been inoculated apart from 5 (nobody knows who these 5 are – the teacher must tell them in secret).

This time one child has the infection and they have to catch another one and shout Covid-19 to infect them. If the person they catch has been inoculated, the virus does not spread. The virus dies and the game ends.

If, by chance, they catch one of the 5 who haven’t been inoculated, then these two try to catch 2 more. It will be obvious that when most of the population has been inoculated it is very hard for a virus to spread.
Moral of the Story – If there is a vaccine for a disease then make sure you get inoculated. All those who get inoculate become immune to the disease. The more people who are inoculated the harder it is for a disease to spread.

Activity 3 – Hand-Washing Game

Washing your hands well with soap for 20 seconds kills the Covid-19 virus and washes it off your hands. This makes it difficult for you to spread the disease to others by touching them or touching articles that others will use.

Get a bowl of soap and water. Ask each child to wash their hands for 20 seconds. The teacher measures the time and writes it down. Once all 3 have washed their hands, the teacher tells them how long they took. The child closest to 20 seconds is the winner.

Happy Birthday – Choose another 3 children. Ask them to wash their hands, while singing Happy Birthday twice: Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear (name), Happy Birthday to you. The teacher should time this and the time taken will be about 20 seconds.

Questions for Children:

  1. When should you wash your hands? (If you have touched someone else’s hands, or been to the toilet, and always before eating.)
  2. Where should water and soap be placed for handwashing in your school? (By the toilets)
  3. How can you make sure that the soap is not stolen? (Trust people, use liquid soap)

Make a difference to your school: Make hand washing stations around the school – with a can of water and soap.

Activities for Older Students

Activity 1 – Medical Reporter

Ask students to work together as Medical Reporters (Journalists) to investigate and write articles that could go into a Medical Newspaper or News sheet.

Here two students compare their interview notes.

Examples of articles they might write include:

  • Interviews with families on how their lives were affected by the Corona-19 lockdown. This could include interviews with:
    • Someone who found it difficult to buy food
    • Someone who could not sell their produce through the market
    • A bodaboda rider or some other trader whose business was affected
  • Interviews with families who were affected by past epidemics of HIV/Aids or Ebola.
  • Information articles to explain to readers about Covid-19
    • What it is?
    • How it is transmitted from person to person.
    • What you can do to avoid catching it or passing it on.

Activity 2 – Creative Writing in English

Write an imaginative short story which shows how corona virus affects a person or a community.

Activity 3 – School Debate

Organise a formal debate with the motion:


This house believes that the best way to fight Coronavirus is to ask people to stay at home.”

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