Common Sense Review
Updated January 2014

Solve the Outbreak

Become a disease detective -- read clues, analyze data, save lives
Common Sense Rating 4
  • Outbreak scenarios have clues and data for kids to analyze.
  • Kids can choose from 12 outbreak scenarios.
  • A scenario begins with general information including number of illnesses, deaths, and hospitalizations.
  • An extensive glossary helps kids build vocabulary skills.
  • Kids can keep track of scores and achievements.
Realistic outbreak scenarios help kids experience health science from the perspective of an actual disease detective; solving mysteries builds critical thinking skills.
The outbreak scenarios are text-heavy and require a lot of reading; links in app can take users to mature content.
Bottom Line
Solve the Outbreak is a free, engaging resource that teaches kids about disease control and prevention.
Debbie Gorrell
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

The realistic scenarios draw kids in, and the challenge of solving the mystery keeps them engaged.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Using clues and data to solve problems promotes critical thinking skills. Kids get instant feedback for incorrect answers, which helps them build knowledge and solve similar problems in other outbreak scenarios.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

A help feature explains how to play, how scores, badges, and achievements are awarded, and how to start solving outbreaks. Plenty of links to the CDC website offer additional support and information about epidemiology.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Solve the Outbreak would work great in conjunction with a health science or human body unit. It may be particularly useful when teaching a lesson on the immune system. Have students work in small groups to solve each outbreak scenario and keep a running tally of group scores. You can give the group with the highest score an award, such as "Senior Disease Detective Team." As a class, discuss the challenges of solving each scenario and have groups write their own scenarios that their classmates can try to solve. 

Read More Read Less
What's It Like?

Solving mysteries is engaging, and saving lives is rewarding. In Solve the Outbreak, kids get to do both. There are 12 realistic outbreak scenarios to choose from, each with its own clever title. Once kids tap on a scenario, a box pops up that provides the following data: number sick, hospitalizations, deaths, and location. Kids tap the Start button to continue and are presented with a brief overview of the mission. Once they accept the mission, kids have to analyze the scenario using clues, data, and definitions of key vocabulary terms. They must correctly answer a series of questions in order to determine the source of the disease and the best course of action to prevent further illnesses and deaths. Kids earn points as they work through the scenario and can make their way from "Trainee" to "Disease Detective." They can also earn achievements such as "Smarty Pants" for looking up glossary terms and "Clever Clogs" for correctly answering four questions in an outbreak. Social media is integrated in the app, so kids can share their scores and progress. Scenarios can be solved over and over, so multiple players can use the app.

Read More Read Less
Is It Good For Learning?

Kids can learn about epidemiology and the method of determining the cause of diseases in a population. Using verbal clues and data displayed in tables and graphs, kids apply critical-thinking skills to analyze information, answer questions, and eventually figure out the source of a disease and how to prevent further illnesses within a population. The outbreak scenarios include tappable key terms that link to an extensive glossary.

Kids can find loads of information to help them learn about epidemiology and what it's like to be a real disease detective. Solving the outbreak scenarios requires some serious problem-solving skills, so kids would be best prepared for success if they have some background knowledge of health science before diving into the detective work.

Read More Read Less

See how teachers are using Solve the Outbreak

Teacher Reviews

Write Your Own Review

Lesson Plans