An Interactive Activity for Teaching and Learning about the Coronavirus

3 min read

| By Phil Faust |

Full disclosure: I work for Gale and have been developing products for more than a decade now. This background and awareness of the resources libraries offer from Gale and other providers is probably my greatest advantage during this pandemic. I’m one of those people who knows that the library is much like an iceberg, the vast majority of the resources and content it provides is below the surface—not in the stacks, but online via the products they purchase and subscribe to digitally. 

Like many of you, I quickly found myself trapped at home and needing to explain school closures and the coronavirus to a relentlessly curious child—in my case, a first grader. Sure, he gets that there’s “no school for three whole weeks ‘cause of the coronavirus!” (said with the joy of a thousand snow days rolled into one); but beyond people getting sick, he didn’t know what was happening. At that point, there wasn’t a lot most of us knew with certainty, but that wasn’t going to stop me from trying to help my little guy learn something! 

For help, I turned to the authoritative research and learning products we offer and used Gale Interactive: Science to explain what a coronavirus is and what it looks like. Viruses are very small and tough to see, you know! The coronavirus page in Gale Interactive: Science offers an activity that brings together a fully manipulatable 3D model of the virus, with authoritative content to help users of all ages explore and learn. After going through the activity and model together, he headed to his cart of art supplies and proceeded to make his own model and drawing of the virus so he could explain it to others, like his four-year-old sister and 10-foot-long stuffed snake, Slash.

The moral of the story is that not even a quarantine lockdown can keep a hungry mind down. I urge everyone looking to learn something—or suddenly teaching at home—to seek out help from the online resources provided through your public, school, or statewide library. You’ll be surprised and excited to find out how many excellent and credible sources are available at your fingertips. All are free to use (paid for by your taxes, most likely) and fully accessible online on any device.

Be safe, and don’t miss this opportunity to learn something new about yourself, your world, and what your library has to offer.

Gale Interactive provides tools that allow users to dive deep into science topics in biology, chemistry, human anatomy, and earth/space science. Interactive tools allow users to zoom, rotate, and explore 3D models right alongside authoritative reference content.


Phil Faust


Meet the Author


Phil Faust joined Cengage Learning as a part of Gale in 2008. Phil has held various publishing and product management positions and is now the vice president and publisher of Academic, overseeing publishing and product management for all of Gale’s higher education‒focused resources.

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