The Playful Learning Bug

PlayFlu engages students in modeling flu outbreak through
tag-style games that illustrates how fast viruses spread


PlayFlu is a technology driven travel program for teaching life sciences. The program was developed with funds from the National Science Foundation as a free enrichment program that travels to schools. PlayFlu uses wearable technology to drive and manage a tag-style game to physically engage students in modeling a flu outbreak. During the game, students are assigned a health status on their wearable devices: Healthy, Sick,or Vaccinated. The sick players (chasers) try to infect (tag) healthy players while the vaccinated players try to protect the healthy.

The games are integrated into a discussion-based lesson plan to teach about infectious diseases, viruses vs. bacteria, herd immunity, and how fast viruses spread. The activity is driven by the CDC’s FluIQ questions and by real-time data generated from student engagement with the model.

Workshops are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and tailored to the knowledge level of the audience being taught (K-8) at increasing levels of complexity.


K-8 Workshops
Playflu travels to schools, integrating a tag-style game with a lesson plan to teach important lessons about life sciences and public health. Workshops last one class period and align with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
Science Family nights
Playflu hosts special workshops at family nights during which children and their parents participate in a fun, educational exercise that investigates the science behind a flu outbreak.
Health and Wellness Family nights
Playflu hosts special workshops at Health and Wellness nights during which children and their parents participate in a fun, educational exercise that illustrates importance of vaccination.
Science Camps
Playflu works to ensure children keep learning during their breaks, hosting instructional activities at science camps.
Science Museums
Playflu engages visitors at Science Museums, hosting a tag-style game that excites and educates kids whether they come on a field trip, with their families, or for special events.

Alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards

PlayFlu follows the NGSS 3D approach by engaging students in the scientific practice of Modeling and through the use of the Cause and Effect crosscutting concept. Lesson plans are developed at increasing levels of complexity; adjusted for student grade level. For example, at the middle-school level, the program delves more in-depth into the core idea of Structure and Function, focusing on infectious disease and related concepts (e.g., immune system, living things, virus vs. bacteria).

PlayFlu’s interdisciplinary approach also focuses on the social significance of vaccines in providing protection to other community members through herd immunity, the implications of population density, and healthy living habits.

Question# 1/11
A flu vaccine can't give you the flu.
you are right!!!

Our Team

Nirit Glazer, Ph.D.

PlayFlu Director

Hao Liu

Full-Stack Developer

HaiLun Wang


Shawn Steckenfinger

Lead Instructor

Kevin Linder

Content Developer & Instructor

Lauren Shawver

Content Developer

Heather Burrows,MD.,Ph.D.

Health-Education Advisor

Mark L Wilson, SC.D

Epidemiology-Content Advisor

Perry Samson, Ph.D.

Educational-Technology Advisor

Ellene Contis, Ph.D.

Chemistry-Curriculum Advisor

Our System

Activity Management
Wearable Devices
Data Visualization
Big Data & Reporting

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